Photo: Spain Unemployed Flee to Latin America
With 5.27 million people unemployed and almost half of the young population without jobs, young professionals in Spain are turning to Latin America as their only hope for economic stability.
They are fleeing from the crisis that is punishing not only their home country of Spain, but the rest of Europe as well. As a result, instead of looking towards other European countries, they are planning to immigrate to South America.
The youth, prepared with careers and languages and without the responsibilities of a family, are embarking on the long journey across the ocean to Chile for better economic stability. Gerardo, a 31 year old telecommunications engineer, Marga, a 28 year old architect and María Angeles, a journalist and lawyer, 27, all have decided to pack up their belongings and begin the journey to Santiago for a new and better life.
According to statistics from the Department of Interior, 388 resident visas were awarded to Spanish citizens in 2010 and in 2011 between January and October, this number increased to 464.
According to Marga González-Calvo, living in Chile for the past 15 months, Chile is an ideal location for Spaniards. “For us right now Chile is a good location, because it provides economic stability and there is a lot of work.” However Marga does admit that living so far from home can bring everyone a little homesickness. “It requires much personal strength because we are more than 13,000 kilometers from home. There are only 15 days of vacation a year and the salaries are not excessively high”
Yet, the economic steadiness makes up for this hardship. María Angeles, who arrived in Chile in 2010 agrees with Marga’s sentiment about family. “Without a doubt the toughest part is living far from family. You are always missing them. Yet, I saw in Chile that there were possibilities and many of my classmates were either leaving Spain or searching for a job for months.”
However not all Spanish ex-patriots have found a steady job. Gerardo Cornejo, a telecommunications engineer, in spite of having an impressive résumé, still is searching for a position. “In Chile, as well as in Spain, the financial sector is air tight.”
In total, there are 48,031 Spanish registered in the Consulate and this number will quite possibly continue to increase.