Topic 2 Inclusion, diversity and rights in the Spanish labour market

Immigration in Spain is quite recent if we compare it with the rest of Western Europe, such as France, Germany, Great Britain, Belgium, etc., countries that have welcomed immigrants since the 1960s, including Spaniards.

 At the beginning of the 1990s, there began to be a migratory flow, as groups of non-EU citizens with work and residence visas arrived in Spain from Latin America, the Maghreb, sub-Saharan countries, Asia (India and Pakistan) and Eastern Europe.

According to the UN, 6,104,203 immigrants live in Spain, which represents 12.9% of the Spanish population. Female immigration is higher than male immigration, with 3,190,456 women, which represents 52.26% of the total number of immigrants, compared to 2,913,747 male immigrants, who represent 47.73%.

From 1999 to 2005, immigrant women represented around 50% of the total number of foreigners in the Valencian Community. However, the presence of immigrant women in relation to the total number of foreigners differs according to the country of origin. During the whole period analysed, the percentage of women among foreigners from the European Union is higher than among non-EU foreigners. The latter, however, tend to be closer to the average. Among non-EU women, Colombian women stand out, with above-average percentages, and Moroccan women, whose presence among men from their country is much lower

According to the latest data from the National Institute of Statistics, some 750,000 foreigners are registered in the Valencian Community, representing 14% of the total population. This means that the Valencian Community is the third autonomous community with the highest presence of foreign population. Its distribution by sex is balanced (50.3% of men and 49.7% of women), with very similar data in the three provinces. The main countries of origin are Romania, Morocco and the United Kingdom, followed at a distance by Colombia, China, Italy and Russia.

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The Generalitat Valenciana has approved the VALENCIAN MIGRATION STRATEGY 2021-2026. This document has 5 strategies that will be worked on in the coming years:

  1. Develop an institutional framework that responds efficiently to the reality of migration in the Valencian Community.
  2. Ensure the exercise of rights and access to public services under equal conditions for migrants.
  3. Facilitate access to employment and housing for the migrant population.
  4. Develop an inclusive and participatory social model.
  5. Promote a model of coexistence and interculturality for all Valencian citizens.

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It means that the social and cultural model has changed, just as Valencian society as a whole has changed. Thus, society must start from an intercultural perspective based on respect and interaction between the native population and the population of other origins. Valencian society has to realize that the reality is different and that society is made up of citizens of different languages, beliefs, ethnicities and cultural codes.

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In all societies, certain psychological mechanisms are present which, to a greater or lesser extent, are activated against the other or the other: racial and cultural prejudices and stereotypes, mechanisms of blaming the other, attitudes of fear and mistrust, or ethnocentrism.

We have to fight against all this, we have to make a huge effort, because the result is worth it: a peaceful, dignified and united life; after all, both locals and foreigners long for the same thing: peace and well-being.

Multiculturalism is a fact, because reality shows us the coexistence, not coexistence, of different cultures, languages, customs, religions, etc.

In a multicultural society such as this one, where immigrants form part of the daily life of Spaniards, contributing to their level of well-being, the need arises not only to recognise their diversity and differences, but also to learn to live together.

Multiculturalism, as its name suggests, reflects cultural, linguistic and religious diversity in the same society. It proposes the recognition of differences based on the principles of equality and the right to difference.

It is necessary and urgent to work together so that coexistence between locals and outsiders is peaceful, enriching, pleasant and positive. This is the starting point of interculturality.

Interculturality goes beyond multiculturality; it is about interethnic, interlinguistic and interreligious relations based on the coexistence of diversity.

Interculturalism emphasises not forgetting what we have in common, and sharing it, as well as insisting on dialogue, mutual knowledge and learning between cultures. Fanaticism, wherever it comes from, is the main obstacle to the existence and development of an intercultural society.

On 26 July 2022, the Government approved a reform of the Foreigners’ Regulation to improve the migration model and favour the incorporation of migrants into the labour market.

The amendment essentially covers 3 special groups:

  1. Foreign undergraduate, master’s or doctoral students wishing to enter the world of work.
  2. Foreigners in Arraigo Laboral, those foreigners who need to regularise their situation in Spain.
  3. Foreign Professionals who are self-employed entrepreneurs.

On the other hand, the law will allow, among other things:

  • It will make it easier for foreign students to stay and work and updates the concepts of social and work roots, as well as family regrouping.
  • It will create a new concept of “arraigo” for training, inspired by the German model, for foreigners who have been in Spain for two years in an irregular situation.
  • It will promote regular migration by facilitating the entry of entrepreneurs, favouring hiring at origin and providing more stability to circular migration processes.
  • It will introduce improvements in administrative management through the creation of the Unit for the Processing of Alien Affairs Files.