Spain is expanding its circular migration program to now include its first Sub-Saharan African country Senegal. With this move, companies in Spain will be able to hire at least 100 people from the African country to work on their farms during the harvest season. Further, it also seeks to reduce the death toll of Africans illegally migrating to Europe.
The initiative is set to launch in April and it intends to build on the success of a 22-year old circular migration program with Morocco, in which 15,000 seasonal workers are annually brought in to work in Spain’s agricultural industry for a brief period before returning home.
The expansion of the circular program follows a memorandum of understanding signed by Senegal and Spain in April 2021.
This aims to reduce illegal immigration from Senegal to Spain and it will also address Spain’s labour shortage while providing jobs to Senegalese workers.
So far, so good. However, Senegal must also eye such a program with caution and take necessary steps so it doesn’t degenerate into an exploitative scheme for Senegalese workers.
Read More: Jamaica says NO to Canada’s systematic enslavement
In the past, we have told our readers how Canada’s treatment of Jamaican workers had raised eyebrows. After the death of a man who was working at a farm in southern Ontario, migrant workers had started to pressurise the Canadian government to give them more safety and rights. Migrant Workers Alliance for Change had complained of facing “systemic racism and seismic exploitation.” The issue of the migrant workers facing physical abuse was being raised by the body. After which Jamaica appointed a fact-finding team to look into the claims made by the migrant farm workers.
Keeping in mind all this, Senegal must be wary of such ill-motives. Although the program appears to be good on the surface, however, there’s every possibility that it might ultimately serve only Spain’s interest at the cost of the poor Senegalese workers.
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