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Immigration into Spain

Evolution and Socio-educational Challenges

Jordi Garreta-Bochaca

In the last fifty years Spain has experienced major changes regarding population movements and the perception the Spanish have concerning emigration and immigration as well as emigrants and immigrants. In short, in a few years it has gone from emigrating to receiving a significant flow of foreign immigration to again becoming issuers of people to Europe while immigration is still reaching the Spanish borders. All of this has led to growth in Spain’s interest in the study of international migration, its impacts on the origin and destination, designed integration policies and their implementation, as well as international comparisons. The volume presents the evolution of the migration phenomenon, the creation and maintenance of transnational networks, the most relevant factors for exclusion and social integration, the demands and forms of intervention of the social workers who work with persons of foreign origin as well as the institutional response given from social services, the evolution of immigrant students in schools and educational policies on cultural diversity in the Spanish educational system, the development of associations, and other important questions about «Immigration into Spain: Evolution and Socio-educational Challenges».

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Immigration into Spain: Evolution and socio-educational challenges


Over the last fifty years, Spain has experienced major changes in population movements and the perception the Spanish have concerning emigration and immigration, as well as emigrants and immigrants. In the mid-20th century, when someone referred to migration in Spain everyone automatically thought of Spaniards moving to other European countries or internal population movements from less developed zones to others that were more prosperous. Foreign residents in Spain were mainly related to tourism. In a short span, in the early nineties, we began to witness a major change in the trend. Not only was the Spanish population not moving beyond its national borders but we also witnessed a growing phenomenon that hardly anyone had predicted: the arrival and settlement of economic immigrants. The Spanish economic development attracted foreign labour. A first, this was in mainly from the north of the African continent, but over the years, there has been a diversification in backgrounds as well as the profiles of foreigners. This brought along with it research on immigration that detected and analysed a significant feminisation and diversification of national origins, cultures, languages, religions, and the uneven distribution of foreigners across the Spanish territory. Obviously this has been a considerable challenge for society and institutions, which have had to adapt to this new reality and work, with varying success according to the moment, on the incorporation of the new population. Moreover, the impact of a particularly severe economic crisis over the past five years has brought about new population...

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