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Spaniards head home as EU job dreams fade

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Spaniards head home as EU job dreams fade
Almost half of unemployed immigrants in Europe still looking for work after more than 12 months, the OECD says. Photo: Johnny Jet/Flickr
16:20 CEST+02:00
Spaniards are leaving the country in ever greater numbers as they search for work but difficult economic conditions for immigrants mean that many soon make their way back home, a new OECD study shows.

The OECD's 2013 International Migration Outlook report shows that the number of Spaniards who moved to Germany doubled from 2011 to 2012.

This is part of an upswing in European Union migration which saw the numbers of immigrants rise 15 percent from 2009 to 2011.

At the same time, the trend of people leaving countries hardest hit by the crisis like Spain increased, to be up by 45 percent in the same period.

But the study also reveals employment prospects for immigrants have taken a downturn, and that almost half of unemployed immigrants in Europe still looking for work after more than 12 months.

Some two thirds of Spaniards who head to Germany return home say the report's authors.

“Governments must do everything they can to improve immigrants’ job prospects,” said OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría, presenting the report in Brussels.

“Tackling high and long-term unemployment now is essential. Continuing to help immigrants integrate will also ensure they can play their part in driving growth as the global economy recovers.”

The OECD report also provides a snapshot of immigration within Spain.

There were an estimated 5.4 million foreigners living in Spain in September 2012, up just over 3 percent on a year earlier, the report shows.
 
Around half of these, or 2.7 million are either from EU or European Economic Area countries and just over a third of that total are from Romania.
 
Departures and arrivals from Spain were both down, according to estimates from Spain's National Statistics Institute (INE) cited by the OECD.
 
The INE estimate that around 420,000 people left the country from January to September 2012.
 
Spanish nationals, however, made up only 55,000 of that total. At the same time, some of that group were newly nationalized citizens of Spain.
 
The authors of the OECD report also mentioned new Spanish government legislation in 2012 which restricted health care for "irregular migrants". 
 
The Spanish government introduced Royal Decree (RD) 16/2012 in August last year.

The new rules state unregistered foreigners should be refused medical assistance except in emergency situations including serious illness and accidents.

Children under the age of 18 are the other exception: they are entitled to "same conditions of care as Spanish people". 

A total of 873,000 people are potentially affected by the move, although not all of Spain's 17 autonomous regions have implemented the changes. 

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