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Immigration Policy a Casualty of Unemployment in Spain

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

BARCELONA, Spain -- As the once-vibrant Spanish economy plunges deeper into recession, the government of Socialist Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero is struggling to staunch the country's skyrocketing jobless rate. And among the first casualties is Spain's famously lenient immigration policy.

With employers shedding jobs at a record pace, Spain's unemployment rate has nearly doubled over the past year to 17.4 percent, the highest in the European Union. More than 4 million Spanish workers are now unemployed, and that number is expected to reach 5 million by 2010 (.pdf). One million Spanish families now have no source of income, and unemployment benefits, which last for a maximum of two years, will run out for millions more in the near future. All of this has the government worried about the potential for social unrest in Spain. ...

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