Posted on March 22, 2005

200,000 Immigrants Take Advantage of Amnesty

Expatica, Mar. 21

MADRID—Just over 200,000 immigrants have applied for legal status to work half way through an amnesty period introduced by Spain’s Socialist government.

The process favours those who can show they have been in Spain for at least six months and have employment contracts for at least half a year.

In the case of agricultural workers, the contract can be for three months.

The three-month “window” for requesting legal status ends on 7 May.

It is designed to benefit more than half a million illegal immigrants — mainly Latin Americans, North Africans and Eastern Europeans.

Authorities said practically all the applications, which in almost all cases are filled in by the employer, fulfil the programme’s requirements.

The Socialist government introduced the scheme to reduce the number of immigrants working illegally in the black economy.

Their aim was to get these immigrants to start paying taxes and social security in return for legal status.

But critics have claimed the scheme will not work and the number of people working illegally will continue to rise.