The Spanish government is planning to allow more non-European Union migrants into the country and extend the contracts of those already in Spain to counter labor shortages in construction and agriculture. In January 1999, the government approved work permits for 30,000 non-EU foreigners; 65 percent for the service sector, 30 percent for agriculture and five percent for construction. However, the work permits were given out by April 23, 1999, prompting the increase.
The Spanish government in May 1999 announced plans to spend $160 million on radar, thermal cameras and night-vision equipment for the Civil Guard to detect migrants trying to enter southern Spain. Spain receives the most funds from the EU, and would like the EU to help pay for stepped up immigration controls.
Since joining the EU, Spain's GDP per capita rose from 70 to 80 percent of the EU average; EU aid is estimated to have increased by four percent over the past decade.
"Seven illegal immigrants caught off south coast, BBC, May 12, 1999. "Spain studies increasing non-EU immigration," Reuters, May 6, 1999.