THE vast majority of women immigrants originally from the Maghreb (North Africa), who now work in the Balearics, are doing so without a contract (94.2 per cent). A similar percentage of women from the sub-Sahara are working under the same conditions (90 per cent) as are those from Ecuador (80.9 per cent). Slightly less (46.9 per cent) come from Eastern Europe and (53 per cent) from Argentina.
These figures are revealed in a study entitled “Employment status of Immigrant Women in the Balearics” which was published in issue 23 of “Cuadernos Gadeso”. This journal keeps track of the varying circumstances, depending on place of origin, under which immigrants from outside the European Union are employed. The report comes on the eve of an announcement that a congress on immigration will be held in Palma in October, with the purpose of analysing it on a global level and discussing the 24 per cent increase in immigration in the Balearics last year. The Gadeso report confirms that the highest percentages of working women are from Ecuador (61 per cent). Eastern Europe (57.9 per cent) and Argentina (53 per cent). The lower end of this scale shows those from the Maghreb (15.6 per cent) and the sub-Sahara (35 per cent). All in all, very few of these women have a fixed contract. The most favourably situated in this regard are those from Argentina (29 per cent have fixed contracts), followed by Eastern Europe (15.1 per cent) and Ecuador (7.6 per cent). The largest percentages of immigrant women working with a temporary contract are found amongst the Eastern European community, from Argentina and Ecuador. The report confirms that there are two fundamental groups of immigrant women emerging in the employment sector: those who arrive alone to try and improve their family's standard of living in their country of origin, and those that come in family groups. Women from Latin America fall into the first group. They are absorbed swiftly into the work force helped by the fact that there is no linguistic barrier. The second group includes women from Eastern Europe who also have more opportunity of success due to fairly good levels of professional training. Women from the Maghreb fall into the second category as do to a lesser extent, those from the African sub-Sahara who come to the Balearics with their children following their husbands' attempts to secure a place within the European Community. “Unlike their people who come on ahead, these women (and their children) arrive legally in family groups” continues the study “with a resident's permit, which doesn't automatically provide work”. Low levels of professional training mean that their chances of securing fixed contracts for working in the Balearics are currently not good”.

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