Reuters, Dec. 30
MADRID — Spain approved new guidelines on immigration on Thursday, including a partial amnesty aimed at giving papers to some of the 800,000 illegal immigrants estimated to be living in the country.
“(The new regulations) will allow us to manage our immigration more rationally in line with a new vision regarding this phenomenon, no longer considered a problem but an opportunity and a challenge,” Maria Teresa Fernandez de la Vega, deputy prime minister, told reporters after the weekly cabinet meeting.
The regulations have been drawn up on the basis of a broad consensus following consultations with professional associations, unions and immigrant organizations as well as political parties.
Under the new rules, an immigrant who can show he has a 6-month work contract and is registered at the town hall and social security office would be eligible for residency, as long as he has a clean criminal record.
Spain is the main gateway to Europe for illegal immigrants, and more than one fifth of those who come through Spain from North Africa end up elsewhere in the EU.