Apart from the long-standing two-way traffic with Spanish America, Spain had no significant immigration from other countries until the 1980s. On the contrary, in the 1950s and 1960s the trend was for Spanish workers to leave in search of employment in the more developed economies of western Europe. In the 1980s, however, the flow of qualified professionals such as dentists and techni-cians from, for instance, the Dominican Republic and Argentina began to be replaced by female domestic servants from these and other Latin American countries. Between 1989 and 1991, the number of foreign residents in all categories in Spain doubled from 200,000 to 400,000, and some estimates suggest that the figure doubled again to 800,000 by 1996. This represents about two percent of the indigenous population, as against seven to eight percent in Germany and France. As in other European states, however, immigrants tend to concentrate in certain centres of population, especially Madrid (20 percent of the total immigrant population), Catalonia (18 percent), Andalusia (13 percent), Valencia (12 percent) and the Canary Islands (10 percent). About 500,000 of the non-Spaniards resident in Spain are there legally, of whom about half come from other EU countries, 16 percent from Latin America, and 20 percent from Africa, mainly from Morocco. This leaves up to a possible 300,000 who are in Spain illegally. It is often difficult for these people to regularize their situation. In 1993, it was estimated that the Ministry of Social Affairs was receiving some 15,000 applications annually for residence permits, of which only four percent were granted. In 1996, it was announced that the regulations would be relaxed to allow the possibility of full legal status to anyone who had once had a work or residence permit, or who was related to someone in either of these categories. Only 50,000 people, however, were expected to benefit from this measure.
   Conditions for illegal immigrants, and even for some legal ones, are often harsh. In 1992, the Madrid suburb of Peña Grande had 1,000 Moroccans living in a shanty town of 200 dwellings, the biggest concentration of its kind in Europe. Immigrants often carry a heavy burden of debt, mainly to pay off the loan provided by the person who organized their travel to Spain, but also because of the need to send back most of their earnings to their families. They are vulnerable to exploitation and discrimination, often being paid less for the same work than Spanish workers. Though there is arguably less racial antagonism in Spain than in other European countries, immigrants have nevertheless been the victims of violence, the most notorious case being that of a woman from the Dominican Republic, Lucrecia Pérez, who was murdered as she slept in a disused discoteque. The authorities, too, have sometimes dealt with illegal immigrants in a heavy-handed way, notably in the highly controversial expulsion in June 1996 of 103 illegal immigrants from Africa. Not only was it. alleged that the deportees had been given no opportunity to have their applications properly processed, but the government admitted that they had been drugged prior to their expulsion.
   See also: black economy; labour market

Encyclopedia of contemporary Spanish culture. 2013.

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