Posted on April 6, 2005

300,000 Switch from Black Economy Under Amnesty

Expatica, Apr. 5

MADRID- Demands by immigrants for their situation to be regularised in Spain have hit 300,000 in the two months since Madrid announced an amnesty designed to clamp down on the black economy.

Consuelo Rumi, Secretary of State for Immigration Consuelo, said: “These are very good figures,” Rumi told a seminar on Latin American immigration, noting that a month ago barely 100,000 regularisation demands had been made.

“Every job which exits the parallel economy is a triumph for this process.”

Rumi added total demands could hit the half million mark by the time the amnesty expires on 7 May if they continued at their current rate.

“They will be people who will pay taxes and contribute towards social security,” added Rumi.

Non-governmental organisations calculate that around one million unregistered non-Spanish nationals are based in Spain.

Spain’s initiative to register illegal workers has met with criticism from Spain’s EU neighbours, including Germany, as some EU states fear an influx would impact upon their own economies in terms of the free movement of labour across the 25-member bloc.

Madrid insists it will adopt a policy of “zero tolerance” towards clandestine workers once the amnesty expires.

Meanwhile, 270 unregistered workers, many from Pakistan and India, as well as Morocco and Latin America, went on hunger strikes in the eastern city of Barcelona to demand a softening of conditions surrounding the legalisation and an extension of the amnesty.

Under the terms of the deal immigrants will only benefit if they have work contracts and have been living in the country for six months.

They must also provide proof of their registration with a local council dating back to before 7 August last year, proof they have no criminal record, and a six-month work contract.