Josep Oliver: “Immigration is linked to the labour market”

MIGRATIONS - Jun 13, 2007

The professor of Economics at the UAB presented at CIDOB his book Spain 2020: an Inescapable Miscegenation, a work that reflects on the impact of immigration on the Spanish labour market.

Josep Oliver, Professor of Applied Economics at the Autonomous University of Barcelona presented at CIDOB his book Spain 2020: An Inescapable Miscegenation, a reflection on the impact of immigration on the Spanish labour market.

In Oliver’s opinion, " Spain has taken a long time to realise that immigration is linked to the labour market". The gradual decrease in the autochthonous labour supply, as a result of falling birth rates in the late 1970s, meant that extra labour was required. At first, this demand for labour was met by an increase in the rate of employment of the active autochthonous population. However, the Professor of Economics claims, once a situation approaching full employment was reached, the continuing disparity between the supply and demand for labour explains, to a great extent, the migration flows that Spain has received in recent years.

These migration flows have been distributed unequally throughout Spain, and Oliver pointed out that different migration realities exist in Spain according to specific levels of immigration in different areas. The first of these, which describes areas with a high concentration of immigrant populations, can be found in the Mediterranean and Peninsula communities, as well as La Rioja and the Canary Islands. The second, which covers areas with a medium level of immigration, is comprised of Aragon and Navarra. Lastly, the Cantabrian coast and Extremadura represent areas with low levels of immigration.

During his presentation, Oliver offered seven possible future scenarios that linked the supply of and demand for labour; major factors in these scenarios included rates of employment, productivity increases and levels of occupational and interregional mobility. The Professor of Economics predicted that in the next 15 years, Spain will experience a second demographic decline that will particularly affect active age groups (those aged between 16 and 64). Oliver added that in order to achieve the process of transition toward a service economy model that will bring the country up to European welfare levels, Spain will need between 4 and 7 million new workers between now and 2020. Finally, the speaker warned that policies related with the labour market (such as an increase in rates of employment and productivity and continuous training policies) should coexist alongside policies aimed at managing integration.

The presentation workshop for Josep Oliver's study was also attended by Oriol Amorós, Secretary for Immigration within the Generalitat of Catalonia and Narcís Serra, President of the CIDOB Foundation.

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