452.3 Labour market needs or international political agenda? Designing temporary migrant worker programmes in spanish migration policy (2000-2010)

Friday, August 3, 2012: 9:40 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Ana LOPEZ SALA , Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
Mikolaj STANEK , Institute of Economics, Geography and Demography, Spanish National Research Council, Madrid, Spain
For the past ten years the management and promotion of temporary and circular migration flows has been a pivotal element of migration management policy in Spain, particularly of low-skilled workers in sectors such as seasonal agriculture and hospitality. This type of international mobility is commonly considered to allow migrants to adapt to the labour market needs of receiving countries without incurring in the social costs of permanent settlement. Additionally, temporary migration is regarded as a beneficial form of international mobility for both migrants and countries of origin. Paradoxically, recruitment of temporary migrant workers in origin during this period only represents a small proportion (approximately 5%) of the total migratory flows to Spain. In this context, questions about the real purposes of temporary recruitment in origin arise.

The aim of this paper is to analyse Spanish policies developed in relation to temporary migrant workers. We examine two key issues: (a) how Spanish policies regarding temporary workers have been designed and (b) what their true objectives were. We take into account three dimensions of policy making: (a) national labour market demands (b) international relations framework (c) and the legitimisation and meaning of these policies in the domestic political arena.This paper assesses Spanish legislation on migration, particularly the measures designed to manage the recruitment of foreign workers in the framework of the bilateral agreements signed by successive governments during the first decade of the XXI century.

Our analysis suggests that labour market needs were a secondary goal in the design and implementation of these policies. Instead, we highlight the idea that the temporary worker recruitment programs based on bilateral agreements have been shaped by other national interests such as: migration control, domestic public opinion and EU and international politics.