200,000 immigrants found work legally in 2006

29th August 2007, Comments 0 comments

200,000 immigrants found work legally in 2006

29 August 2007

MADRID - Spain welcomed some 210,000 immigrants during 2006 to work in jobs shunned by Spanish nationals, the labour ministry said in statistics which El Pais newspaper published on Wednesday.

The trend has continued to date this year with Spanish employers seekng to take on 178,754 immigrant workers in January to June, according to the figures.

Each quarter Spain's national employment centre gets together with employers and unions to draw up a "catalogue of difficult to fill jobs," amid evidence there is a shortage of shepherds in Zaragoza, ship's cooks in Las Palmas, or taxi drivers in Madrid, El Pais reported.

Before 2005, Spanish employers could ask to bring in immigrant labour but had to show that no Spaniard had applied for the job in question.

That requirement often presented difficulties.

For example, if an employer in Barcelona wanted to hire a hairdresser, he would not be allowed to take on an immigrant if there were unemployed hairdressers anywhere else in the country, even if they refused to take up the job offer.

The Socialist government of Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero eased the rules in 2005 to allow immigrants signing a contract in their home country to come to Spain armed already with residence papers and a one-year work permit for the sector and the province where they were to work.

After the year was up the permits were generally renewed, with geographic or sector restrictions removed.

Spain's economy has been marching ahead in recent years buoyed by high growth which has enabled the country to absorb almost four million foreigners over the past decade.

At the same time the unemployment rate has dropped continuously from more than 20 percent 25 years ago to 7.95 percent of the active population in the second quarter of this year, the lowest rate for some 30 years.

The government in 2005 also undertook what it said would be a one-off mass regularisation of some 600,000 illegal foreign residents, a move which has been of major benefit to the Spanish treasury with the vast bulk of them now paying social contributions.

[Copyright AFP with Expatica]

Subject: Spanish news

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