Publications Books

European Task Force on Irregular Migrations - Country Report: Spain Paris : Ifri, 2011, 31 p. (Coll. Les études Ifri)

Spain represents in many ways an exceptional case study for research on immigration and especially irregular immigration. 

ETFIM Country Report: Spain

This makes this report a significant complement to those on local migration politics in Berlin, London, and Paris and, to some extent, in Rome as well. Officials, scholars and observers in traditional immigration countries in Western Europe have developed strong views, and concerns, on how Spain, Italy and other Southern European countries have failed to control inflows, have no explicit approach to integration, and need to learn from longstanding immigration destinations. These worries centre on the idea that Southern European countries need to efficiently manage the challenges that current immigration represents as well as increase the efficacy of future interventions in the field of immigration.

The misbehaviour of Southern European countries in the field of immigration has some bases. Indeed, irregularity has been a structural problem of immigration into Southern economies, and especially in Spain. Most successfully settled migrants in Spain have been irregular residents at some time. As we shall explain later, entries in Spain have only rarely been irregular. Over-stayers represent the real question, although the media has emphasized the irregular entries, often focusing on the dramatic images of attempts to reach Spanish coasts by sea.

There are several reasons that explain this exceptional situation. Given the impossibility of addressing the entire issue, we would like to bring what we consider to be the three most important of these reasons to the forefront. The first is the path dependency of the strict regulations that Spain adopted in the 1980s. The second concerns the strength of the shadow economy and the expansion of specific productive sectors that are low skilled labour intensive. The third is the use of periodical extraordinary processes to regularise over-stayers.


European Task Force on Irregular Migrations - Country Report: Spain
migrants Politics Spanish Immigration Policy Undocumented Immigrants Spain