One-way ticket home

LAST UPDATED: 20 Jul, 2009 @ 19:22
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Outrage as Spain offers immigrants money to go home

IMMIGRANTS are being offered a one-way ticket home in a desperate attempt to ease soaring unemployment.
The Spanish government are giving foreign workers the chance to return to their country of origin as the economic crisis shows no sign of easing.
Jobless Latin Americans have already been offered money in exchange for the guarantee they will not return for at least three years, while Romanians are now set to be offered the same package.
It will be the first time an EU country has actively tried to persuade EU citizens from other member states to leave.
A total of 70,000 unemployed Romanians will be targeted – 4,000 Latin Americans have already taken up the offer to return home.
“A lot of my friends and relatives have gone back,” said Pilar Gonzales from Ecuador.
“It’s better to be in Ecuador with your loved ones and enough to eat, than here without work.”
However, the policy has been criticised for being merely a cynical attempt to improve Spanish unemployment figures while shifting the problem to other countries.
“What Spain is trying to do is to take Romanian unemployed out of the Spanish statistics and move them over to the Romanian statistics,” Gheorghe Gainar,
President of a Romanian cultural association in Alcala de Henares, near Madrid.
“But the Spanish unemployment benefits are higher than a Romanian salary, so it’s better for them to stay here in Spain than go home to Romania.”
But the director general of the Spanish ministry for labour and immigration has defended the controversial scheme.
“We’re not trying to shift the statistics so that Spain’s employment rate looks better or to get rid of anyone, we’re just trying to reorganise the labour market,” explained Javier Orduna.
“But the Romanian unemployment rate is only 5.5 per cent, while in Spain it’s nearly 17 per cent.”

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