Impact of crisis on immigration in Spain

Valeriano Gómez, the Minister for Work and Immigration, has announced that the number of immigrants coming to Spain has gone down ‘drastically’ since the beginning of the recession and at the same time the number of immigrants returing home under the assisted return scheme has increased. The announcement came alter a meeting with the Ambassador for Ecuador yesterday.

Gómez referred to the assisted return scheme for immigrants who find themselves unemployed in Spain and want to return home. She said that there were signs of a new economic cycle beginning in Spain and said that the scheme was conceived as a measure to combat the recession and prevent unemployment rising even further.

She said that Spain’s capacity to absorb immigrants had reduced and that the actual number of immigrants returning home was higher than the number recorded under the assisted return scheme.

Nevertheless she added that the bilateral agreement between Ecuador and Spain was not conceived with the idea of Ecuadorians returning home and said that the agreement would allow workers from both countries more mobility and would help commerce between both states.

The agreement first signed in 1974 covers workers and pensioners who are subject to the legislation covering social security in either or both countries as well as members of their families. Under the agreement the number of years paid into social security can be transferred to either country as well as the right to claim any benefits that are due.

Gómez said that this agreement, which will be renewed next week, was very important because there were 395,069 Ecuadorians living in Spain and out of this number 171,043 paid social security.

The total number of pensioners receiving benefits under the bilateral agreement is 722 out of which 116 receive incapacity benefit, 257 retirement pensions, 140 widower’s pensions and 209 benefits paid to orphans.