The Spanish Government has acted to calm fears over plans to stop issuing visas to unskilled migrant workers.
Unions claimed radical proposals aimed at stemming a tide of immigration could force employers to prove they are unable to fill vacant posts from applicants in Spain before bringing in foreigners.
But Deputy Prime Minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega said there is no need to panic: “There will be recruitment of foreign workers in their country of origin because we need them,” she said.
“Seasonal workers will remain unaffected. Recruitment in this sector will be determined by the agents and contractors, the companies, the syndicates, the regional governments, the town halls, we will continue along the same lines. Nothing has changed.”
The labour and immigration ministry retracted an earlier statement saying it was unreasonable, with unemployment at 2.5 million, to recruit people from abroad. Around 180,000 foreign workers arrived in Spain last year. Unions say restricting work visas will only result in more illegal immigration.
The number of immigrants in Spain has risen to 10 per cent of the population in a decade, with mainly low-paid workers arriving from Latin America, Morocco, Asia, eastern Europe and sub-Saharan Africa.