Raúl LARDIÉS-BOSQUE, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
Nuria DEL OLMO-VICÉN, Universidad de Zaragoza, Spain
Many rural areas in Spain are characterized by low population density and low economic activity. Nevertheless, these rural areas have received many foreign immigrants since the 1990s, phenomenon considered very positive from the socio-economic, demographic and territorial points of view. In this contribution, socio-economic and territorial characteristics of foreign immigrants and particularly those coming from non-EU countries will be analyzed, mainly in rural areas of the region of Aragón, Spain. Specifically, the incorporation of immigrants to different economic sectors and activities, its problems, difficulties and challenges, will be studied.
This work is carried out in the context of the development of the H-2020 MATILDE project (Migration Impact Assessment to Enhance Integration and Local Development in European Rural and Mountain Areas), 2020-2023. Documentation and available statistical sources will be used, but also qualitative information obtained through field work carried out during 2020 and 2021. In addition to 7 in-depth interviews with policy makers at the regional level, another 14 interviews and 9 Focus Groups have been conducted with economic agents and employers, and another 11 Focus Groups with immigrants.
The results show different job profiles according to different groups of immigrants, countries of origin and administrative status of residence and work in Spain. In general, the work profile of low qualification and job instability is quite common. The difficulties in accessing to better paid and more stable positions is high, and also in accessing to this type of jobs in small population centers and villages (rural areas). Very few foreign immigrants are in charge of a enterprise, but when this happens, they are small businesses, mainly in the tourism sector -small bars and restaurants and agriculture. Economically, an integration model of "substitution” can be identified ", instead of a model of "competition".
Keywords: Non-EU foreign immigrants|rural areas|labor integration|workers|Spain