PEOPLE WORKING FOR THEIR LIVING IN SPAIN LEGALIZED
The Employment Agency announced on May 10 it was looking to hire another 30 professional drivers to work in Spain within the framework of the agreement with that country for regulating labour migration. Candidates to work in Spain are required to have at least three years of experience and to have transported by truck goods in EU countries. Monthly wages, according to pundits, will be in the range of EUR700-1,000.A day prior the publication of that announcement the term elapsed within which people staying illegally in Spain and their employers could apply for a permission to work in the country. According to Spanish authorities, most of the immigrants have availed themselves of that opportunity and about 80-90% of them have already been granted a legal status. In respect of the number of immigrants - 3.7 million, or 8.4% of the country's population - Spain has left behind France, which has for a long time been the leader according to that indicator. The registration of foreigners is entrusted to 52 immigration offices and the number of their 1,639 employees has been doubled. The campaign started on February 7, 2005 and the sojourn of some 700,000 people has been legalized so far. About 30% of them are Bulgarians, unofficial data of Spanish NGOs show. In order to change their status they had to present a labour contract and prove they have stayed in Spain for at least six months. A clean criminal record was required as well. The new programme for legal employment was criticized by the Spanish Commission for Assistance of Refugees. The humanitarian organisation believes that the conditions set discriminate some of the immigrants. According to its representatives, the programmes' implementation was only stimulating the sojourn of foreigners of active working age. Opponents to the Spanish Government's initiative declared that a great number of the filed applications were for legalizing immigrants who had settled in France or Italy, but decided to move to Spain due to the eased criteria. The campaign was not accepted positively by Spain's neighbours.