Brain drain: Spain wants to woo back skilled workers who left due to crisis

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Brain drain: Spain wants to woo back skilled workers who left due to crisis
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The Spanish government said Wednesday it is working on a plan to persuade skilled workers who left the country during its 2008-2013 economic slump to return home.


The number of Spaniards registered as living abroad  jumped by over 940,000 after 2009, according to government figures, as unemployment soared in Spain due to a steep recession sparked by the global financial crisis.   

The majority were young doctors, engineers, scientists and other skilled workers which the government would like to help return to Spain, secretary of state for migrations, Consuelo Rumi, told a news conference.

The plan, which is due to come into force in 2019, does not set a target for the number of workers it hopes to woo back, she added.

READ MORE: 'Working poor' abound in Spain despite economic recovery

The scheme will mainly involve facilitating contact via the internet between Spanish expats and firms in Spain looking for skilled workers.   

"The profiles of workers demanded by companies...are linked to technology and research," Rumi said.

The government does not plan to provide financial aid to encourage skilled workers to return, except for "important" research projects which would bring "added value" to the country, she added.

Rumi acknowledged there is "resistance" on the part of skilled workers to return to Spain, where working conditions and pay are often less favourable than in their new home countries.

Spain is more reliant on temporary contracts than any other EU nation. More than one in four workers, 26.9 per cent, was employed on a temporary contract in the second quarter, according to the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat.

While the country's jobless rate is down from a peak of nearly 27 per cent in 2013 to 14.5 percent in September, it is still the second-highest in the eurozone after Greece.

Britain and Germany were the two countries that saw the biggest jump in the number of Spanish immigrants during the economic crisis.   

Of the roughly 2.5 million Spaniards who live abroad, 1.5 million are in the Americas, mainly in the country's former colonies in South America.

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