A rally to call for the reception of migrants and refugees in Barcelona, part of the the campaign 'Casa Nostra, Casa Vostra' (Our Home, Your Home). Credit: EPA/ALBERTO ESTEVEZ
A rally to call for the reception of migrants and refugees in Barcelona, part of the the campaign 'Casa Nostra, Casa Vostra' (Our Home, Your Home). Credit: EPA/ALBERTO ESTEVEZ

The Workers' Commissions (Comisiones Obreras) trade union reported that the number of migrants without a regular permit in Catalonia rose 54.6 percent in 2017 compared to the previous year. The union said one of the main reasons for the rise is that migrants have a hard time renewing their work permits.

The number of undocumented migrants is on the rise in Catalonia because of the difficulties foreigners face when renewing their work permits. That is according to a report by the Information center for foreign workers (Cite). The report was presented by the Workers' Commissions Union (CCOO).

Over half of immigrants in irregular situation

The report was based on the analysis of 27,741 applications presented by 11,316 immigrants to Cite offices in the region. The reported increase in irregular situations, concerning 54.6% of applications, according to Cite director Carles Bertran, is directly connected to the difficulties faced by migrants in obtaining or renewing work permits due to the crisis and the lack of a job contracts or the payment of social security. These are all necessary prerequisites to legalize the position of an immigrant. There has been a steady increase in the number of undocumented migrants since 2013. There was a 58 percent increase in undocumented male migrants, mainly in the industry and construction sectors. Meanwhile, there was a 52 percent increase in undocumented female migrants who are mainly working as domestic helpers. 

The CCOO said the number of foreign workers registered by Cite centers has gone down from 47.3 percent in 2016 to 45.9 percent in 2017. Most foreigners work as housekeepers, a sector that employs 94 percent of migrant women, followed by services (22.8 percent) and the hotel sector (12.7 percent).The study reported a 4 percent increase concerning illegal jobs, which represented 58.7 percent of the total in Catalonia, mainly in domestic work (45.2 percent of the total) and services (22.5 percent).

Most undocumented migrants from Latin America

The director of Cite said the rise in irregular situations was due to the current law on immigration, which requires a one-year-long full-time job contract and three years of residence in Spain. However, he said, most new contracts in Spain are part-time and it is "very difficult to obtain a full-time contract, especially in domestic work," noted Beltran. Most undocumented workers hail from Latin America (50 percent). The highest percentage of migrants hail from Morocco (10 percent), followed by Colombia (8.9 percent), Venezuela (8.7 percent) and Honduras (8 percent). Denouncing the progressive exclusion of immigrants from legal work, Comisiones Obreras asked for urgent measures to "make procedures to access regular situations and their continuation more flexible."

 

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