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Immigrants and a regional economy in Spain: the case of Murcia

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This article examines some of the issues that arise from the integration of non-EU immigrant workers into the labour market in a region that boasts a successful agricultural sector. After establishing the characteristics of the regional economy in Murcia, one of Spain’s autonomous communities, the focus is on the rapidly changing composition of the migrant community and the process of its incorporation into an increasingly complex regional economy. The premise is that immigration from abroad is closely linked to the ‘new’ forms of agricultural production associated with the intensive, export-oriented agriculture and with the rapid growth of the tourism and construction sectors that has become such a characteristic feature of southern and eastern Spain. One outcome has been the emergence of a new ethnic hierarchy of older and newer immigrants and of the increasing prevalence of labour displacement, no longer of Spaniards by immigrants, but of one immigrant group by another. A survey of immigrants in Murcia carried out in 2002 serves to demonstrate the rapidly changing dynamics in this sensitive area.
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Keywords: Spain; ethnic hierarchy; immigration; regional economy

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Manchester Metropolitan University

Publication date: August 18, 2005

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  • The International Journal of Iberian Studies (IJIS) is the academic journal for scholars from around the world whose research focuses on contemporary Spain and Portugal from a range of disciplinary perspectives. IJIS is interested in history (20th century onwards), government and politics; foreign policy and international relations.
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