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Spain — Fewer new immigrants and more black economy for those already there

18 May 2010

New research carried out by staffing firm Randstad Spain reveals that the current economic crisis and the current unemployment levels of 20.05% are having an effect on the number of immigrant workers coming to Spain from outside the European Union (EU).

Whilst Spain was at the forefront of extra-EU immigration between 2000 and 2007, only a further 500,000 registered new foreign workers have entered the country since 2008. Spain has now 5.7 million foreigners living in the country, 12.2% of the total population census.

The vast majority of extra-EU immigrant workers in Spain come from Latin America and Morocco. The unemployment rate among immigrant workers from Morocco reached 38.1% last year, whilst only 19% of Colombians and 12.4% of immigrants from Ecuador were unemployed. However, the number of all foreigners as a percentage of the unemployed has fallen from 20.4% to 13.7% in the same year because they are "far more proactive in trying to find work than the Spaniards."

Official figures reveal that only 8,724 extra-EU foreign workers have taken up the government's scheme of paying them their accumulated unemployment benefit in a lump sum on the condition that they return to their countries of origin.

Randstad believes that an increasing number of extra-EU foreign workers will work in the black economy. The company says in a statement "it would appear that the immigrants are adapting to the economic crisis by working in the black economy in order to survive and in order to continue to be able to send money home to their families."



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