Spain: New Foreigners' Law Regulation


The governing PSOE (Socialist Party) has approved a new Regulation for the implementation of the Ley de Extranjería (Foreigners' Law). It does not involve a substantial change in direction or goals (ie. the management of migratory flows in accordance with the requirements of the labour market). It is a direction that reduces millions of people to the status of cheap labour, who also have a beneficial effect as their presence helps bring about demographic recovery.

The government's emphasis on using the underground economy to control irregularity is unilateralist because it devalues the reason for emigration and ignores the mechanisms on which the illegal situation of hundreds of thousand of people have been constructed. These mechanisms are embedded in immigration policy and the law on foreigners: the visa policy; the inflexible procedures for applying for authorisation to work; the opaque functioning and ill-treatment that occurs in consulates; the incompatibility between administrative procedures and the workings of the labour market; the failure of the pure quota system; the visa system used for seeking employment (which does not work); and the ill-functioning system based on length of residence. All these factors, preclude a meaningful change in policy, which would require considerably more than a change in the Regulation for the implementation of the immigration law.

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