THE crisis forced them to search for work elsewhere, but now, over 900 Alicante residents who were living abroad have returned to the province in the past year.

The survey of external migration published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE) reports that 910 people have come home. This is the highest figure since 2008, the year in which the survey began, which also coincides with the start of the economic crisis, and shows an increase of 15 per cent over the previous year.

However, these 910 returning contrast with the more than 2,600 who have packed their bags in the last year to emigrate abroad.

Carlos Gomez Gil from the Immigration Observatory of the University of Alicante, said: “A good number of Spaniards are forced by joblessness and the poor situation in Spain to move elsewhere, but it’s hard to emigrate to a foreign country, so many decide to return.”

He added: “Only those who are working in good conditions and gaining higher wages have longer term migration plans, but those who bear precarious situations and have no prospect of finding their way abroad, prefer to go back and at least have loved ones near.”

The INE data also shows that in the last year 500 foreigners have returned to the province. These  are immigrants who once came to Spain and decided to leave during the crisis but have now returned.

The UGT union also attributes the increase in the number of returns to the poor condition of many jobs abroad, which they said: “generates considerable frustration in the youth who left thinking they would lead a better life than in Spain.” For this reason, the union is calling for a “wake up call to companies to avoid abuse of temporary employment contracts and offer quality so that people can return with guarantees of stability.”

EUROWEEKLY