The sociodemographic impacts of visa controls on the Iberoamerican immigrants flows to Spain, 1988 to 2006

Daniela Vono, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Maria Helena Bedoya
Andreu Domingo, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona

Since the end of 1980’s, Spain, which traditionally has been a sending country, has consolidated its position as a receiving country of immigrants. Nowadays the country constitutes one of the most important receiving countries in Europe. Concurrently, there has been as an intense process of legislative regulation by the State to control the flows. One of these is the Visa System, initially a national system, which from 1991 was replaced by the Schengen area normative. In this context, immigrant flows from Iberoamerican countries are particularly relevant: 1) they have presented the largest inflows compared with other non-communitarian origins; 2) regarding legislative facilities on immigration and nationality law, they have being considered the “favorite” immigrant group, and 3) the diversity of the flows considering nationality, requirements to the entrance in Spain and the different effective dates of visa requirement according to specific nationalities makes possible a substantial comparative analysis of the sociodemographic effects of visa controls. In this article we examine the effects of immigration control using visa requirement on the Iberoamerican immigrant flows to Spain. By analyzing data from the Residential Variation Statistics, this paper argues that fluctuations in the number of aliens’ flows not necessarily occur according to the control policy of the receiving country. Furthermore, it suggests that the requirement of visa to certain Iberoamerican nationalities for entry to Spain had different impacts on these movements and on its sociodemographic characteristics over the years, specifically age and sex.

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Presented in Session 70: Migration Policies