Spain grants amnesty to 700,000 migrants - Refugee Council
May 8, 2005

Spain grants amnesty to 700,000 migrants

In Spain, almost 700,000 immigrants have applied for work and residence permits under the largest amnesty for illegal immigrants ever undertaken in Europe. Long queues were still waiting outside government offices as the deadline for the amnesty drew near on Saturday. Colombians, Ecuadorians, Moroccans and Romanians made up most of the applications.

Jesús Caldera, the Socialist government’s labour minister, said the three-month registration drive had been a huge success. He estimated the amnesty will increase social security contributions by up to €1.5bn ($1.9bn, £1bn) over the next year. There will also be a crackdown on employers who use illegal labour, with government inspection of more than half a million work places expected this year.

However, critics of the scheme said the amnesty had attracted a flood of extra immigrants, including many who had been living illegally in France, Germany and Italy.

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Guardian: Spain grants amnesty to 700,000 migrants