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Our Focus programme brings you exclusive reports from around the world. From Monday to Friday at 7.45 am Paris time.

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Latest update : 2010-02-02

Immigration: economic impact on EU rules

Unemployment among Spaniards is up at over 19 percent, while nearly 30 percent of immigrants in Spain are now jobless. The construction industry there has seen the country welcome some 5.5 million immigrants in recent years: up from just half a million in 1996. Now in times of economic instability, they are facing difficulties, especially those without the proper paperwork...

There are fewer and fewer candidates to immigration in Europe, and a tendancy of reinforcing struggle against illegal immigration all over the European union.

Spain’s socialist government totally changed its immigration policies. Back in 2005 and 2006, Prime minister José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero had offered the possibility to hundreds of thousand immigrants to get long-term visas. At the time, Spain’s economy was thriving.

The government has totally changed its heart in the past few months: unemployment in Spain hits record levels – the rate is around 20% of the Spanish population and hits 29,7% of the immigrant population.

Completely fresh legislation now governs immigration. In effect from mid December, it limits legal immigrants from bringing family members to Spain to join them and allows some minors above 16 to be extradited, for instance.

In the last few months, illegal immigrants have started to feel increasing pressure from the police. In 2009, 10,616 illegal immigrants were sent off the country, it’s 25% more compared to 2008 figures.

FRANCE 24 met illegal immigrants who have to hide from the authorities and police. Their everyday life is a lot more difficult than a few months ago.

By Adeline PERCEPT

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