Spain to launch seasonal workers program for Senegalese
Spain is expanding its so-called circular migration program to its first sub-Saharan African country by hiring at least 100 Senegalese to boost Spain’s agricultural sector, while also seeking to reduce the death toll of Africans illegally migrating to Europe.
By including Senegal into the program, companies in Spain will be able to hire at least 100 people from the African country to work on their farms during the harvest season, a government source said. The new scheme with Senegal replicates a similar 22-year-old program with Morocco, in which 15,000 seasonal workers are annually brought in to work in Spain’s agricultural industry for a brief period before returning home. The program has recorded some measure of success.
Spanish government said it implements circular migration programs to reduce illegal immigration and address labor shortages in its essential agricultural industry.
The death of at least 65 individuals off the coast of Italy on Sunday (26 February) brought attention to the dangers illegal immigrants encounter when traveling to Europe.
Spain has been grappling with illegal migration from Senegal for decades. In 2006, the arrival of more than 30,000 Senegalese migrants to the Canary Islands was resolved with an agreement for increased vigilance by EU border police of boats leaving Dakar in exchange for aid and a commitment to take in legal workers.
The expansion of the circular program follows a memorandum of understanding signed by Senegal and Spain in April 2021 which aimed to encourage circular migration as part of efforts to mitigate illegal migration flows that have been increasing amid the coronavirus pandemic.