21st Mar 2018

Spain offers immigration amnesty

  • Spain is planning to ask the EU for more funds to strengthen border controls. (Photo: EUobserver)

Spain's socialist government is offering an amnesty to illegal immigrants in the country in an attempt to regularise their situation.

Illegal immigrants who can prove they have a valid work contract will be eligible for the amnesty, according to remarks made by Consuelo Rumi, the state secretary for immigration, published in El Pais.

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"It is about easing the social integration of foreigners but also about combating the black market in immigrant labour", said Ms Rumi.

"This does not mean we are going to give papers to all foreigners. Let that be very clear", she emphasized.

Under new plans, which are to be unveiled next month, the government will also issue residence papers for immigrants who blow the whistle on employers who employ immigrants without a work contract, reported El Pais.

Legal immigration will be promoted by offering 3-month visas to immigrants so they have time to look for a job before applying for a residence permit.

The minister also said that Spain is planning to ask the EU for more funds to strengthen border controls.

In contrast to Italy

The Spanish government's stance contrasts strongly with that of Italy - another country that has large immigration flows due to its long sea borders.

There, Europe minister Rocco Buttiglione, who will be the EU's justice and home affairs commissioner from November, has said that people seeking asylum for economic reasons is a 'time-bomb'.

Mr Buttiglione has also revived the controversial idea of camps in countries outside the EU where prospective immigrants can be processed.

Illegal immigration is also the top theme of a visit by Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi to Libya tomorrow (25 August).

He is to ask Colonel Gaddafi to try and do something to counter the flow of would-be immigrants setting sail for Italy from the North African country.

Libya has already in principle agreed to Italian-Libyan navy patrols to try and stop the immigrants - many of whom have paid huge sums of money to be shipped by Libyans to Italian shores.

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Why has central Europe turned so eurosceptic?

Faced with poorer infrastructure, dual food standards and what can seem like hectoring from western Europe it is not surprising some central and eastern European member states are rebelling.

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