Spanish government wants to repatriate one million immigrants
The government will offer unemployment benefits to legal immigrants who lose their jobs if they return to their home countries.12 June 2008
MADRID - Beginning in July, the government will offer legal immigrants who lose their jobs a chance to collect unemployment benefits quickly if they agree to return to their home countries.
Under the deal, returning immigrants will receive their full unemployment benefits in two instalments: one before leaving, and the other once they are back home. To be eligible, migrants must give up their residency and work papers and pledge not to return for at least three years.
The move, sparked by the economic crisis, is in stark contrast with the government's immigration policies just a year ago, when foreign workers were being hired at source.
Over one million people could be affected by this measure, around half of all non-EU legal residents, said Labour Minister Celestino Corbacho.
The figure is based on the belief that immigrants who accept this offer will take their relatives with them. Corbacho also announced tougher conditions to bring family members into Spain that might prevent workers' parents and in-laws from being eligible.
From January 2005 to April 2008, Spain granted residency papers to over 252,000 relatives of migrant workers. Corbacho said that there are currently around 165,000 unemployed foreigners, and expected that figure to grow over the next three years, when the economy "will enter a phase of job creation."
[El Pais / Tomas Barbulo / Expatica]