Immigration to Spain

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Immigration in Spain by country

As of 2010, there were over 6 million foreign-born residents in Spain, corresponding to 14% of the total population. Of these, 4.1 million (8.9% of the total population) were born outside the European Union and 2.3 million (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.[1]

Because of its location in the Iberian Peninsula, the territory comprising modern Spain has always been at the crossroads of human migration, having harboured many waves of historical immigration. The Spanish Empire, one of the first global empires and one of the largest in the world, spanned all inhabited continents and throughout the years people from these lands emigrated to Spain in varying numbers.[citation needed]

In migration terms and after centuries of net emigration, Spain has recently experienced large-scale immigration for the first time in modern history. According to the Spanish government, there were 5,598,691 foreign residents in January 2010.[2] Of these, well over one million and a half were from Latin America (especially from Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina and Brazil), three quarters of a million were Moroccan, while immigrants and expatriates from the European Union member states amounted more than two million (especially from Romania, United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Bulgaria). Chinese are estimated to number 145,425, while South East Asian groups such as Filipinos—whose country was a former Spanish possession—created a small community in Spain. Immigrants from several sub-Saharan African countries have also settled in Spain as contract workers, although they represent only 4.08% of all the foreign residents in the country.

The population of Spain doubled during the 20th century due to the spectacular demographic boom in the 1960s and early 1970s. The birth rate then plunged by the 1980s, and Spain's population became stagnant, its demographics showing one of the lowest sub-replacement fertility rate in the world.[citation needed].

During the early 21st century, the average year-on-year demographic growth set a new record with its 2003 peak variation of 2.1%, doubling the previous record reached back in the 1960s when a mean year on year growth of 1% was experienced.[3] This trend is far from being reversed at the present moment and, in 2005 alone, the immigrant population of Spain increased by 700 000 people.[4]

Currently[edit]

Foreign population in Spain[5]
Year Population % total
1981 198,042 0.52%
1986 241,971 0.63%
1991 360,655 0.91%
1996 542,314 1.37%
1998 637,085 1.60%
2000 923,879 2.28%
2001 1,370,657 3.33%
2002 1,977,946 4.73%
2003 2,664,168 6.24%
2004 3,034,326 7.02%
2005 3,730,610 8.46%
2006 4,144,166 9.27%
2007 4,519,554 10.0%
2008 5,220,600 11.3%
2009 5,598,691 12.0%
2010 5,708,940 12.2%
2011 5,730,667 12.2%
2012 5,520,133 11.7%

According to the Spanish government, there were 5.6 million foreign residents in Spain in 2010; independent estimates put the figure 14% of total population (Red Cross, World Disasters Report 2006). According to residence permit data for 2010, around 800,000 were Romanian, 710,000 were Moroccan, 410,000 were Ecuadorian, 370,000 were British and 290,000 were Colombian. Other important foreign communities are Bolivian (4.1%), German (3.4%), Italian (3.1%), Bulgarian (2.9%), Chinese (2.6%) and Argentine (2.5%). In 2005, a regularization programme increased the legal immigrant population by 700,000 people. Since 2000 Spain has experienced high population growth as a result of immigration flows, despite a birth rate that is only half of the replacement level. This sudden and ongoing inflow of immigrants, particularly those arriving clandestinely by sea, has caused noticeable social tensions[citation needed].

According to Eurostat, in 2010, there were 6.4 million foreign-born residents in Spain, corresponding to 14.0% of the total population. Of these, 4.1 million (8.9%) were born outside the EU and 2.3 million (5.1%) were born in another EU Member State.[6]

As of 2005 Spain had the second highest immigration rates within the EU, just after Cyprus, and the second highest absolute net migration in the World (after the USA).[7] This can be explained by a number of reasons including its geographical position, the porosity of its borders, the large size of its underground economy and the strength of the agricultural and construction sectors which demand more low cost labour than can be offered by the national workforce. In fact, booming Spain was Europe's largest absorber of migrants from 2002 to 2007, with its immigrant population more than doubling as 2.5 million people arrived.

Over 920,000 immigrants arrived in Spain during 2007, on top of the 802,971 new arrivals in 2006, 682,711 new arrivals in 2005, and 645,844 new arrivals in 2004.[8]

Although the number of immigrants in Spain, officially, is smaller than that of other countries in the EU, the following data should be taken into consideration:

  • Immigrants from countries belonging to the former Spanish Empire (mainly in Central and South America–Latin America–, Asia–the Philippines– and Africa–Equatorial and Western Sahara–) can obtain Spanish nationality after legal and continuous residence of 2 years in Spain, after which naturalized citizens are no longer counted as immigrants.
  • In order to avoid statelessness, Spain automatically grants Spanish nationality to the children of immigrants born in Spain whose parents' nationality of origin is not transferred jus sanguinis upon their child's birth abroad. Unlike other countries of the EU that do not do it.[citation needed] It is for this reason that although the Latin American immigrants of origin are most numerous, the Romanians or the Moroccans surpassed them in the official statistics.

In the same way the majority of children born in Spain between 2000 and 2010 are children of immigrants despite not counting as such. Considering these data, there are sectors of Spanish society who oppose immigration that affirm the real number of immigrants in Spain is 10–11 million, or about 25% of the total population.

As for other nationalities then Spanish speaking, in order to stay in Spain for more than 3 months, you need a residence card, residence visa or work permit.[9]

Immigrants from the European Union[edit]

Immigrants from the European Union make up a growing proportion of immigrants in Spain. The main countries of origin are Romania, the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, and Bulgaria.

The British authorities estimate that the real population of UK citizens living in Spain is much bigger than Spanish official figures suggest, establishing them at about 1,000,000, about 800,000 being permanent residents.[10] Of these, according to the BBC and contrary to popular belief, only about 21.5% are over the age of 65.[11]

In fact, according to the Financial Times, Spain is the most favoured destination for West Europeans considering to move from their own country and seek jobs elsewhere in the EU.[12]

Major immigration[edit]

European Union countries are given in bold.

Origin 2011 2007 2006 2001 Growth
2001–2011
% Change Article
 Romania 864,278 527,019 407,159 31,641 832,637 +2,631% Romanians in Spain
 Morocco 769,920 582,923 563,012 233,415 536,505 +230% Moroccans in Spain
 United Kingdom 390,880 314,951 274,722 107,326 283,554 +264% British migration to Spain
 Ecuador 359,076 427,099 461,310 139,022 220,054 +158% -
 Colombia 271,773 261,542 265,141 87,209 184,564 +212% -
 Bolivia 197,895 200,496 139,802 6,619 191,276 +2,890% -
 Germany 195,842 164,405 150,490 99,217 96,625 +97% -
 Italy 187,847 135,108 115,791 34,689 153,158 +441% -
 Bulgaria 172,634 122,057 101,617 12,035 160,599 +1,334% Bulgarians in Spain
 China 166,223 106,652 104,681 27,574 138,649 +503% Chinese people in Spain
 Portugal 140,706 100,616 80,635 47,064 93,642 +199% -
 Peru 131,886 103,650 95,903 34,975 96,911 +277% Peruvians in Spain
 France 122,385 100,408 90,021 51,582 70,803 +137% -
 Argentina 120,012 141,159 150,252 32,429 87,583 +270% -
 Brazil 106,908 90,161 72,441 17,078 89,830 +526% -
 Dominican Republic 90,612 65,119 61,071 31,153 59,459 +191% -
 Paraguay 87,406 46,238 28,587 928 86,478 +9,319% -
 Ukraine 85,913 69,983 69,893 10,318 75,595 +733% -
 Poland 85,862 61,464 45,797 13,469 72,393 +537% -
 Pakistan 69,841 42,105 42,138 8,274 61,567 +744% Pakistanis in Spain
 Senegal 63,248 36,955 35,079 10,627 52,621 +495% -
 Algeria 60,538 45,813 47,079 18,265 42,273 +231% -
 Venezuela 59,453 51,481 51,261 16,549 42,904 +259% -
 Netherlands 54,424 44,398 39,484 23,146 31,278 +135% -
 Cuba 54,406 45,698 44,739 24,534 29,872 +122% -
 Philippines - 54,385 51,368 - 3,017 - Filipino Spaniards
 Russia 52,832 39,798 39,904 10,047 42,785 +426% Russians in Spain
 Nigeria 44,870 32,119 31,588 7,598 37,272 +490% -
 Uruguay 42,581 46,069 45,508 6,828 35,753 +524% -
 Chile 41,712 40,844 39,704 11,674 30,038 +257% -
 Belgium 35,876 31,412 29,526 19,869 16,007 +80% -
TOTAL 5,730,667 4,519,554 4,144,166 1,370,657 4,360,010 +318%

From other countries – Europe[edit]

European Union countries are given in bold.

Origin 2007 2006
 Albania 1,353 1,316
 Andorra 1,022 1,075
 Austria 8,651 7,776
 Belarus 3,135 3,262
 Bosnia and Herzegovina 1,659 1,827
 Croatia 1,649 1,788
 Cyprus 146 130
 Czech Republic 6,423 5,160
 Denmark 10,906 9,977
 Estonia 984 784
 Finland 9,990 9,313
 Greece 3,567 3,027
 Hungary 4,597 3,344
 Iceland 1,083 920
 Ireland 13,279 11,495
 Latvia 2,128 1,741
 Liechtenstein 48 117
 Lithuania 18,528 15,200
 Luxembourg 562 1,336
 Macedonia 407 440
 Malta 152 129
 Moldova 12,801 11,330
 Norway 15,630 14,154
 Serbia 3,133 3,474
 Slovakia 5,999 4,515
 Slovenia 799 619
 Sweden 20,058 18,096
  Switzerland 16,361 15,385
 Rest of European countries 66 83
TOTAL EUROPE 1,895,727 1,609,856

From other countries – Africa[edit]

Origin 2007 2006 Article
 Angola 2,114 3,698
 Cape Verde 2,998 3,611
 Cameroon 4,029 3,955
 Republic of the Congo 1,801 1,888
 Ivory Coast 1,636 1,759
 Egypt 2,566 3,634 Egyptians in Spain
 Gambia 17,393 13,627
 Ghana 12,699 13,133
 Guinea 9,159 9,901
 Equatorial Guinea 13,129 19,456 Spanish Equatoguineans
 Guinea-Bissau 5,229 5,274
 Liberia 581 1,167
 Mali 17,094 14,497
 Mauritania 9,271 9,308
 DR Congo 1,008 1,548
 Sierra Leone 989 1,487
 South Africa 704 2,086
 Tunisia 1,544 2,194 Tunisians in Spain
Rest of African countries 5,041 8,679
TOTAL 806.795

From other countries – Central America[edit]

Origin 2007 2006
Costa Rica Costa Rica 1,320 2,373
El Salvador El Salvador 3,795 5,102
Guatemala Guatemala 2,417 4,321
Honduras Honduras 14,253 10,652
Nicaragua Nicaragua 4,547 4,204
Panama Panama 1,794 3,520
Rest of Central America countries 1,002 2,517
TOTAL 139.945

From other countries – North America[edit]

Origin 2007 2006
Canada Canada 2,419 5,420
United States United States 22,082 32,626
Mexico Mexico 21,107 40,574
TOTAL 45.608

From other countries – Asia[edit]

Origin 2007 2006 Article
 Armenia 9,582 9,365 Armenians in Spain
 Georgia 7,355 6,284
 Philippines 54,385 51,368 Filipino Spaniards
South Korea South Korea 22,465 13,144 Koreans in Spain
India India 21,296 23,296
Bangladesh Bangladesh 6,480 6,130
Iran Iran 12,334 4,568 Iranians in Spain
Iraq Iraq 880 1,706 Iraqi people in Spain
Israel Israel 1,713 2,427
Japan Japan 11,636 7,684 Japanese Spaniards
Jordan Jordan 1,088 2,082 Jordanian people in Spain
Lebanon Lebanon 6,250 2,750 Lebanese people in Spain
Syria Syria 6,129 4,575 Syrian people in Spain
 Turkey 1,758 1,656 Turks in Spain
Rest of Asian countries 6,430 2,517
TOTAL 219.843

From other countries – Oceania[edit]

Origin 2007 2006
Australia Australia 1,455 5,131
New Zealand New Zealand 301 298
Rest of Oceania countries 494 1,099
TOTAL 2.271

Comparison with other countries from European Union[edit]

According to Eurostat 47.3 million people lived in the European Union in 2010 who were born outside their resident country. This corresponds to 9.4% of the total EU population. Of these, 31.4 million (6.3%) were born outside the EU and 16.0 million (3.2%) were born in another EU member state. The largest absolute numbers of people born outside the EU were in Germany (6.4 million), France (5.1 million), the United Kingdom (4.7 million), Spain (4.1 million), Italy (3.2 million), and the Netherlands (1.4 million).[13]

Country Total population (millions) Total Foreign-born (millions) % Born in other EU state (millions) % Born in a non EU state (millions) %
Germany 81.802 9.812 12.0 3.396 4.2 6.415 7.8
France 64.716 7.196 11.1 2.118 3.3 5.078 7.8
United Kingdom 62.008 7.012 11.3 2.245 3.6 4.767 7.7
Spain 46.000 6.422 12.0 2.328 5.1 4.094 8.9
Italy 61.000 4.798 8.5 1.592 2.6 3.205 5.3
Netherlands 16.575 1.832 11.1 0.428 2.6 1.404 8.5
Greece 11.305 1.256 11.1 0.315 2.8 0.940 8.3
Sweden 9.340 1.337 14.3 0.477 5.1 0.859 9.2
Austria 8.367 1.276 15.2 0.512 6.1 0.764 9.1
Belgium 10.666 1.380 12.9 0.695 6.5 0.685 6.4
Portugal 10.637 0.793 7.5 0.191 1.8 0.602 5.7
Denmark 5.534 0.500 9.0 0.152 2.8 0.348 6.3
EU 27 501.098 47.348 9.4 15.980 3.2 31.368 6.3

Irregular migration[edit]

Irregular migration to Spain is the act of foreign nationals entering Spain, without government permission and in violation of the given nationality law, or staying beyond the termination date of a visa, also in violation of the law.

In order to deal with the overwhelming numbers of illegal immigrants the government has initiated an amnesty in 2005 to reduce the problem. Some critics believe this will only encourage Chain migration.[14][15][16][17]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are , Eurostat, Katya VASILEVA, 34/2011.
  2. ^ 5,598,691 foreign population in Spain (2009), Spanish National Statitistic Institute press report, INE (Spain). June 3, 2009. (Spanish)
  3. ^ Official report on Spanish recent Macroeconomics, including data and comments on immigration. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  4. ^ Instituto Nacional de Estadística. Evolution of the foreign population in Spain since 1998 [1]
  5. ^ Fuente: para los años 1981, 1986 y 1991, los datos se refieren tan sólo a extranjeros con permiso de residencia a 31 de diciembre y proceden del Ministerio de Trabajo y Asuntos Sociales, citado en [2] (tomando, para el porcentaje de 1986, la población española de hecho según la estimación intercensal del INE para el 1 de julio [3]). Para los datos de 1996 y posteriores, todos los datos proceden del INE [4]
  6. ^ 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad, Eurostat, Katya VASILEVA, 34/2011.
  7. ^ Eurostat – Population in Europe in 2005. (PDF) . Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  8. ^ Kern, Soeren (2009-05-13), "Immigration Policy a Casualty of Unemployment in Spain", World Politics Review, retrieved 2009-06-29 
  9. ^ Zelmenis, Artis (2013-09-11), "Spanish Immigration Policy", Baltic Legal 
  10. ^ [5] [6] [7] [8] [9] [10] [11]
  11. ^ Special Reports | Brits Abroad. BBC News. Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  12. ^ News.bg – Europeans Favour Spain for Expat Jobs. International.ibox.bg. Retrieved on 2011-11-14.
  13. ^ 6.5% of the EU population are foreigners and 9.4% are born abroad, Eurostat, Katya VASILEVA, 34/2011.
  14. ^ "Spain Helping Mauritania Slow Illegal Immigration". Voice of America. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  15. ^ "Spain, Like U.S., Grapples With Immigration". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  16. ^ "Spain sees significant drop in illegal immigrants in 2009". Xinhuanet. Retrieved 2012-04-01. 
  17. ^ Katya Adler, "Spain stands by immigrant amnesty," BBC (25 May, 2005). Retrieved 29-10-2013.

External links[edit]