Migrants help to revive small rural Spanish communities

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Cepaim Foundation
Some of the families helped to find work and housing

TWO national newspapers, El Pais in Spain and The Guardian in Britain are working together to produce stories about the lives of asylum seekers.

Their latest piece, whilst more about economic migrants rather than those fleeing from persecution, tells the story of how these migrants are propping up small communities in Spain.

Villages in much of northern Spain have seen an increase in the number of elderly people and the disappearance of younger people looking for work or a more exciting life style.

According to these two newspapers, Moroccan immigrants who are finding it increasingly more difficult to find work in busy cities, are moving to rural Spain to undertake agricultural work and manual labour.

It is not just Moroccans but other groups including large numbers of Romanians who are being directed to the interior by the Cepaim Foundation which helps immigrants to find work and education and advises on under populated villages which need new workers and their families.

The good thing for those moving to the smaller villages is that work and housing are available and generally speaking, locals welcome the arrival of new blood to the area which in turn helps local councils to keep their funding and even schools.

As happened so often in the past, immigrants will take jobs that locals don’t want to be involved with, including manual labour, fruit picking and shepherding which are important to farmers and as children are born, they retain their original heritage whilst also taking Spanish passports and are bilingual.

Gibraltar experienced a similar situation when the border with Spain was closed and Spanish workers lost their jobs, to be replaced by Moroccans who were initially treated quite badly but eventually were allowed to bring over their families and now form an important part of the community on the Rock.

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