The Ombudsman asks for work authorizations for immigrants who can be employed in the field
Lack of labor has become a problem for agricultural campaigns
The Ombudsman has asked the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, to grant work authorizations for certain groups of foreigners who could join the labor market to urgently alleviate the lack of labor in some sectors especially affected by the crisis caused by the coronavirus. Francisco Fernández-Marugán refers specifically to the agricultural sector, care of the elderly and health.
The Ombudsman maintains that the current legislation allows to offer work permits to citizens who are in a regular situation in Spain, but who cannot be hired because they do not have, for various circumstances, a work authorization that allows it. This is the case of asylum seekers who have been in Spain for less than six months and have not yet processed their work permit or that of young immigrants who were mentored by the Administration and who now, after turning 18, have a residence permit but not working. The NGO Volunteers for the World, which cares for young ex-guardians, had already addressed the Ombudsman to point out the possibility that this group could join the labor market to compensate for the current lack of labor in some sectors.
“The Aliens Regulation establishes that, in the event that circumstances of an economic, social or labor nature advise it, the Council of Ministers may issue instructions for granting authorizations for temporary residence or work,” recalls Fernández Marugán.
The Government has already accepted part of that recommendation and is finalizing an instruction, which it will shortly take to the Council of Ministers, to expedite and facilitate work authorizations and the approval of titles for immigrants with a health profile who already live in Spain. This measure, however, is restricted to the health and care sector, so far, it has not been opened to other profiles such as agriculture, a request that is beginning to arise among farmers.
Andalusian agricultural entrepreneurs, in the middle of the red fruit harvesting campaign, are suffering a severe blow from the pandemic. The demand has suffered and the closure of borders decreed by Morocco on the 13th blocked the arrival of almost 11,000 Moroccan tempras who were expected to be able to pick the strawberry in Huelva. Border restrictions in the EU also paralyzed the arrival of workers from Eastern Europe. “Our future is uncertain. Right now the activity is less, but if our sales recover, it is not clear to us if we will have enough manpower from mid-April, “says Manuel Piedra, from the Union of Small Farmers in Huelva. workers from other sectors such as services,
Piedra bets first on hiring local unemployed. In the province of Huelva there are currently 52,780 unemployed, of whom 7,165 correspond to agriculture and more than 32,985 to the service sector. The numbers, warns Piedra, do not guarantee, however, that they do not have labor problems and they do consider hiring immigrants, but with conditions. “They should be people who are currently settled in the province of Huelva. We do not want a person to cross half of Spain to come to work here, we must be responsible, “he says. “Before giving the documentation, the employer needs to formalize a demand for workers and a commitment to provide them with accommodation.”
Asaja- Huelva, the Agrarian Association of Young Farmers, one of the most active groups in the sector, regrets these days a drop of 50% in demand and does not see the work solution for immigrants as the best solution. “The ideal option to cover the need for labor that Huelva’s agriculture may have is the public job offer. Made through the competent administration, in this case the Andalusian Employment Service aimed at unemployed people the environment, “said a spokeswoman.
Situation of the immigrant centers
Fernández Marugán has also requested that the situation of immigrants still locked up in the detention centers for foreigners (CIE) or who are staying in the Temporary Stay Centers (CETI) of Ceuta and Melilla be urgently addressed. The defender again requests the release of the inmates since, in the current situation, their expulsion cannot be carried out and recalls, once again, that “the deprivation of liberty of these persons has the exclusive purpose of ensuring the materialization of their return or expulsion ”.
The Ombudsman has been in constant communication for days with the General Commissariat for Immigration and Borders and with the State Secretariat for Migration to coordinate the inmates’ freedom, referring them and their referral to humanitarian reception resources. According to the Ministry of the Interior, the CIEs, with almost 900 places, are currently at 9% of their capacity.
In the case of the CETI, Fernández Marugán has approached the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration to address the transfer of its residents to the Peninsula. “Taking into account the traditional overcrowding of these two centers, in which, in addition, a significant number of minors are usually found, I advocate continuing with the transfers to the peninsula and thus preventing contagion from occurring in units that are not prepared for such eventuality ”, he affirms in his writing.
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