Lengthy queues formed outside social security offices across Spain yesterday as tens of thousands of unregistered foreign workers raced to beat a deadline to legalise their status.
Some 700,000, mainly from Latin America, have already completed the paper work. Around another 100,000 have still not registered and spent the night waiting in line. They have until Saturday evening.
One man from Brazil wanted to get his papers to allow him to work with dignity, but it has not been that simple for everyone. Another said his boss would fire him as soon as he gets his work permit while another person was waiting for the right paperwork to arrive from China. It probably would not reach Spain in time.
Some 1.7 million people work in Spain illegally. But only those who registered with a Spanish local council before August last year have been given the chance, over three months, to legalise their status.