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Spain: expecting 100,000 immigrants to return

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Spain’s government predicted Friday that about 100,000 unemployed immigrants will take take advantage of a new programme providing them with financial incentives to return home.

Most of those who will qualify are from Colombia, Ecuador and Morocco, Deputy Prime Minister Maria Teresa de la Vega told a news conference after the “programme of voluntary return” was approved at a weekly cabinet meeting.

Spain if facing an economic slowdown as a decade-long property boom — which created jobs for thousands of immigrants — comes to an abrupt end due to rising interest rates and the international credit crunch sparked by the US sub-prime crisis.

The unemployment rate rose 8.6 percent last year, its first annual increase since 2003, and the government predicts it will hit 11 percent this year.

People that are going to return are the ones who have better prospects of finding jobs in their country. Even if they are given your unemployment benefits, they are not going to return if they don’t see it’s easier for them to live in their homelands. And people who have better prospects there normally have better prospects here…

Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero’s government issued an amnesty for nearly 700,000 illegal immigrants in 2005 but has adopted a harder line on immigration since its re-election in March in a general election in which the opposition made immigration a key issue.

The government wants to limit family reunion visas to spouses and young children, a move Corbacho has said would cut immigration by 40 per cent.

It also plans to extend the period under which illegal immigrants can be held in custody to 60 days from the current 40 days.

The opposition made immigration a key issue? I thought it was the dental assurance and other benefits as such, the ones which were really discussed in the election campaign…

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Written by Claudia

July 20, 2008 at 12:46 pm

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