Spain launches €24 million plan for return of Spaniards abroad

Spanish scientists, professionals and self-employed who work abroad can rely on the support of a new programme if they wish to go back to their home country. The Spanish government approved on Friday a two-year plan with a budget of 24 million euros to encourage the return of Spaniards who live overseas.

Called Un país para volver (a country to return to), the plan aims to make Spain an “attractive place to develop a personal and professional life project”. Action points include easing procedures, offering counseling, publicising job opportunities and supporting entrepreneurship. The idea is to remove all personal, professional and administrative barriers that disincentivise returns.

A key element of the programme is the creation of a one-stop shop (“ventanilla unica”) for information and documents people will need if they decide to go back to Spain. There will also be a service offering bespoke advice to returning citizens, supporting the design of a professional path and linking up candidates with companies.

The government expects about 24,000 people to benefit from the programme.

The premise of the initiative is the recognition of the efforts made by individuals who moved elsewhere during the economic crisis, and the value they can bring back with the acquired experience.

According to government data, at the beginning of this year more than 2.5 million Spanish lived abroad, about one million more than in 2009. Some 1.5 million reside in America and 900,000 in Europe.

“The programme is not only for young people, but for persons with any profile and for families who had to look for destinations where they could better accommodate their family economies,” said education minister María Isabel Celaá presenting the plan. It is “inclusive and non-discriminatory regarding age, educational level or place of origin, and is designed to meet the demands of different profiles of emigrants,” says a government statement.

Measures include the improvement of the R&D (research and development) system and the promotion of scholarships to encourage researchers to continue their studies in Spain. For the self-employed, there will be a bonus of 60 euros per month to support entrepreneurship.

The plan, the first on a national scale, was proposed by the Minister for employment, migrations and social security and prepared in cooperation with 10 ministries. It builds on previous initiatives at a local level, such as those launched by the region of Castilla-La Mancha and the municipality of Valladolid.

Volvemos, an organisation that supports the return of Spaniards abroad, analysed the market and consulted with companies and individuals to make recommendations. “From now on, we will continue working in a pilot programme to test these actions,” said spokesperson Cristina Navas.

The return plan will be presented to the Spanish community in London on Friday 29 March.

Claudia Delpero © all rights reserved.

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