Spanish government wants to fill abandoned villages with migrants in fight against depopulation

by Deborah Cater
Good idea to repopulate abandoned villages with migrants

The Spanish Minister of Integration, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, confirmed he thinks it is “a very good idea” to populate Spain’s abandoned villages with migrants.

The ministry has received proposals from the state government of Castile and León and from a number of municipal councils. “I think it’s a very good idea,” Escrivá said on Monday. He referred to a letter from the vice-president of Castile and León, proposing repopulation of depopulated municipalities with migrants.

Escrivá believes this “sign of availability” from autonomous communities such as Castile and León “will allow them to work together on this plan in the coming months”. The minister added that in the recovery plan, he has “considerable” funds to develop their own centres “to encourage the distribution of migrants throughout the territory”.

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Correcting ‘anomaly’

Furthermore, the minister announced the government would approve the amendment to the Aliens Regulations just before or after the summer. According to Escrivá, this amendment will rectify an “anomaly”. At the moment, many unaccompanied foreign minors were in an undefined situation when they reached the age of 18. Due to the enormously high requirements for entering the labour market, they were often unable to find work. “This absurd situation, with often pure red tape that only slows things down, must be reversed,” said the minister.

Stimulate birth rate

He stressed the importance of “proper training” for young migrants arriving in Spain. This will allow them to enter the labour market in the short or medium term. Looking forward, this is especially important when “a considerable labour force will be needed after the baby boomers retire.”

“We must help by making pre-school activities compulsory from 0 to 3 years of age and by improving subsidies so that this ‘education’, which is not free at present, helps to create more favourable conditions for having children,” the minister stressed. He added “there is probably a need for more support to give a boost to the birth rate”. This support could be an incentive through income tax.

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