Spain 'needs four million immigrants' by 2020

6th October 2006, Comments 0 comments

6 October 2006, BARCELONA — Spain will need at least 4 million more immigrants - between 16 and 64 – by 2020, according to a study.

6 October 2006

BARCELONA — Spain will need at least 4 million more immigrants - between 16 and 64 – by 2020, according to a study.

The report, prepared by the regional government of Catalonia,looked ahead to the situation in 2020.

It said the nation's relatively low birth rate was not sufficient to provide Spain with the workers it would need in the coming decades.

Project coordinator Josep Oliver, a professor of applied economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, said this was the minimum number of immigrants needed to keep the economy growing at the pace of the past decade.

The report also said a minimum level of  social and educational policies should be maintained to ensure that as many native Spaniards as possible enter the labour force.

Oliver said immigration was "unavoidable and necessary" because "if no one else enters, there will be a significant aging of the population," and, as a result, a lack of workers, so "if we do not have them here, they will come from outside".

In calculating the number of immigrants needed, researchers factored in annual workforce growth of 2-3 percent and gross domestic product growth of 3 percent annually.

"Workplaces produce the call effect" since "we need immigrants," but if a large wave of immigrants arrives it could create a "worrisome clash, given the problems seen with integration in other European countries," Oliver said.

Last year, Spain's Socialist government extended amnesty to illegal immigrants, a move deemed overly generous by the opposition in Spain and some other European nations.

Madrid provided work and residence papers to nearly 600,000 people, but more than 1.2 million foreigners continue to live illegally in the Iberian nation, according to a study conducted earlier this year by the Communist Comisiones Obreras, or CCOO, labor union.

The three-month amnesty process started February 2005, and some 700,000 foreigners applied to legalize their status in Spain, according to the Labour and Social Security Ministry.

It said 573,270 people were given their papers, about 70 percent of them from Latin America.

For months, Spain has been dealing with a wave of illegal immigration into the Canary Islands.

Illegal immigrants from sub-Saharan Africa bound for the European Union have increasingly opted for the sea route to the Canary Islands since Madrid tightened security last year around two Spanish enclaves in North Africa that were being used as a bridge into Europe.

People from African countries hope to reach the coast of Spain in an effort to stay in that country or continue on to another European destination.

[Copyright EFE with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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