Spain sees 'end of cycle' in high illegal immigration
Expatica (Spain), January 14, 2010
Madrid — The Spanish government said Wednesday it was the end of a cycle in high numbers of illegal immigrants arriving on its shores, as the number dropped significantly in 2009 due to the economic crisis.
'It is the end of a long cycle', Consuelo Rumi, the secretary of state for immigration said, following the publication of its 2009 immigration directory.
'We are seeing a transition towards a new period that will be characterised by a slower rate of arrivals,' Rumi added, also predicting that those who did arrive would face a tougher entry process.
The number of illegal immigrants who reached Spain as a whole in 2009 halved to around 7,000 from some 14,000 last year.
Unemployment, at 18 percent for the Spanish population, rises to 27.5 percent for immigrants, who continued to arrive in Spain in high numbers until the second part of 2009.
Among Spain's population of 46 million, 12 percent are from abroad, especially South America, Morocco and Eastern Europe.
Over a 15-year period more than four million immigrants have arrived in Spain, attracted especially to its once booming construction sector.