June 24, 2021

From deli to managers: foreign workers are sought

Sausage companies located in rural areas that launch an SOS to workers who want to move to the town, temporary workers to harvest crops or caregivers of older people are jobs in which foreign workers are finding opportunities, although they also do so in management positions or related to technology and research.

The residence and work authorizations of foreign workers for highly qualified professionals (such as management analysts and telecommunications systems or technicians, for example) have doubled in the last four years, according to data from the Ministry of Labor, to which they have had access Efe If in 2014 700 were granted, in 2018 they were 1,488.

The increase of these authorizations, within the 2013 law of support for entrepreneurs and their internationalization, has been even higher in the case of foreign researchers, who have multiplied by four, from 80 (five years ago) to 381 at the end of last year.

The return plan designed a year ago by the Government to attract Spanish workers who went to work in other countries with qualified profiles – mainly technological and researchers – does not work, says the head of Migrations of UGT, Ana María Corral.

“If they tell those Spanish professionals that they left ‘I want you to come back, we need you’ but there is no valuation of the labor market and what you offer them is the same thing that when you decided to migrate abroad, you will not return”, assures Efe of the union leader.

But aside from these more attractive positions, the data shows a different reality: that immigrants continue to occupy less qualified and unstable jobs, and therefore “less demanded by the Spaniards.”


The first occupations for which more residence permits have been granted to foreign workers are domestic and agricultural work.

According to the latest Labor data, as of September 2019, of the 19,156,906 people affiliated with Security, 2,137,816 are foreigners (11%).

Foreign affiliation has a cyclical and seasonal behavior: it increases during the first half of each year and from June begins to decline. It affects the agricultural system and sea workers, whose hiring rises in May and August and falls when the seasons end, CCOO points out in the report “Migratory flows, employment and training of the foreign population” presented this week.

By sectors, the highest percentage of foreign workers occurs in agriculture (16% of total affiliates), followed by construction (13%) and services – waiters, hotel cleaning (10%) and household employees (The 9 %).

“The x-ray of the employment of foreigners shows us that they are in the most precarious sectors, both in agriculture and in the services sector, which have worse working conditions, short-term part-time contracts and hiding long hours,” interprets Efe Lola Santillana, CCOO Employment Secretary.

It denounces that “in the agriculture sector, the minimum interprofessional minimum wage is not even applied in many contracts, nor in domestic service” mostly occupied by foreign women.

“There are foreign domestic employees who are going to renew their papers and they are not renewed because they do not charge the minimum professional salary; instead of going against those who hire under these conditions, working women are penalized,” he lamented.

“These foreign women have facilitated the promotion of Spanish women and their incorporation into the labor market, because they are in charge of both the elderly and the care of children and the work of the domestic service,” Santillana values.

From UGT, Corral points out that the foreign population accounts for 42 percent of all people affiliated with the special system of domestic employees. “The most numerous nationality is the Romanian, followed by those born in Bolivia and Paraguay.”


The offer of several jobs in a sausage factory in a town of Soria has attracted 10 families of Filipino origin, who have decided to change the city for rural areas.

The hiring has been done through an agreement with the consulate of Spain in the Philippines, comments with Efe the president of the Chamber of Commerce of that province, Alberto Santamaría, an entity that does a work of “intermediation” between the companies and the job seekers “in areas where the lack of labor is evident.”

“Hiring not only the workers, but facilitating the establishment of their families, the conditions to fix the workers in a job position are favored,” said Efe Santamaría.

“In the province of Soria we have a problem of critical mass to work. Unemployment levels are low: in the figure of 3,000 unemployed students, housewives and other people targeted by certain circumstances are included, but unemployed people willing to work we are few, “says the president of the Chamber of Commerce of Soria.

The demands of work in this province of “Spain emptied” focus on sectors such as logistics transport, hospitality (chefs, waiters) and non-specialized labor industry, such as meat, details. He proposes to facilitate the hiring of foreign workers who are already in Spain, regularizing their situation: “It is easier than making them return to their countries and hire at source”

“You could provide work permits to these people who are already here and who already know little or much of the Spanish language and customs,” making integration into new jobs easier, many of them in small businesses already established and they need more workforce to grow.

“We are few and we have lowered to a threshold where sustainability is very complicated in several small nuclei, where there is no renewal of people,” says the president of the Soriana chamber. “We are interested in giving work to foreigners who are already here, but also to those Sorianos who left due to various circumstances and for them it would be a good opportunity to return,” concludes Santamaría.

Ana Rodrigo


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