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Amnesty for 700, 000 Illegal Workers in Spain

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Issue: 29 Section: International News Geography: Europe Spain Topics: migration

May 11, 2005

Amnesty for 700, 000 Illegal Workers in Spain

by Sandy Hager

In a move that reverses recent trends in Europe to crackdown on illegal immigrants, Spain's socialist government announced an amnesty programme that will allow up to 90 per cent (700, 000) of the migrant workers in the country to apply for residence permits so long as their current employers provide them with at least six-month work contracts.

Speaking of the amnesty programme, Spain's pro-socialist El País newspaper was supportive, considering it "the only way to deal with situations that are humanely and socially unsustainable and which harm the economy."

According to Giles Tremlett of the Guardian, the amnesty initiative will help to combat exploited migrants who work "secretly and fearfully in the black economy." Once workers' families are brought into the equation, this will amount to approximately one million people no longer forced to hide from Spanish immigration authorities.

Tremlett also suggests that Spain's booming economy has benefited greatly from the influx of migrant workers, a number which is now the highest in Europe and has quadrupled to 3.7 million since 2000. Immigrants have not only helped curb Spain's population decline, but have fueled consumer growth. Further, the social security contributions of those granted amnesty will help to offset "a looming pensions crisis."

The Guardian: Spain grants amnesty to 700,000 migrants

The Dominion Weblog: When in Spain?

BBC: Spain launches immigrant amnesty

New York Times: Spain: Amnesty For Migrants

Washington Times: France adds to EU's immigration debate

Human Rights Watch: Closed-door Immigration Policy Is Shameful Vision

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The Dominion is a monthly paper published by an incipient network of independent journalists in Canada. It aims to provide accurate, critical coverage that is accountable to its readers and the subjects it tackles. Taking its name from Canada's official status as both a colony and a colonial force, the Dominion examines politics, culture and daily life with a view to understanding the exercise of power.

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