Spain, a member of the European Community since 1986 and now also guardpost of the Schengen area, must today cope with the challenge of immigration. Traditionally Spain sent large numbers of migrants abroad, but in the last 20 years it has attracted an increasing flow of immigrants. Today, almost a million foreigners live in Spain.
Francisco Zamora Lopez analyses the nature of this immigration and outlines the future prospects. He distinguishes the old European migrants from the young migrants from the rest of the world, stressing the sudden upturn in immigrants from Africa. The foreigners' destinations vary according to nationality, age and sex, but there is an underlying pattern of sending countries: from the other European countries come retired people, the "farniente" immigrants whose numbers are likely to remain stable; other countries send temporary workers, also likely to maintain a steady flow; while young people come from poor countries, wishing to work and to stay, and their share of the Spanish total is likely to increase.
Turning to the future, the author looks at several factors affecting migration flows: geographical origin, cultural similarity, level of economic development, migration policies, state of the world economy, etc.
Faced with these flows, the Spanish authorities are vigilant but this does not stop them from punishing the exploitation of migrants or ensuring that their human rights are respected, while also preparing Spanish society to accept new and different groups to live in the country.