During the last ten years, Romanian citizens have become one of the strongest migrant groups in Spain, although to date there are still no opportunities for longer-term residence or employment, officially.
Time and again politicians find that the goals of their migration policies are only partially achieved or not at all. Scientists have already been observing this phenomenon for three decades and call this the "policy gap" hypothesis
Thus, in the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), for example, the 1973 ban on recruiting so-called guest workers almost completely missed its mark. Instead of reducing the number of migrants in the FRG this political measure increased migrants' concern that opportunities for entering the country in future would be blocked to such an extent that they chose to prolong their stay. Furthermore, the humanitarian orientation of the laws in the FRG meant that migrants could also invite their family members to join them, thereby bringing still more migrants into the FRG.
The USA's attempt to put a stop to irregular immigration with the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act (IRCA) also fell wide of the mark. The Act made it a punishable offence to recruit workers staying in the USA without lawful work authorisation. At the same time it legalised about 2.7 million undocumented migrants by granting an amnesty to those who were able to prove that they had already been working in the USA for a specified time. Nonetheless, in order to satisfy companies, in particular those involved in agriculture that were reliant on cheap labour, a guest worker programme was set up for agricultural workers (the so-called H-2A visa). The renewed strong increase in irregular migratory movements after the introduction of the IRCA showed, however, that the sanctions levied against employers were too insignificant and possibilities for employing regular migrants too complicated to prevent employers continuing to employ irregular migrants.
Meanwhile, however, the gulf between policy goals and outcomes has reached new heights, since migration networks today function better than ever, thanks to new opportunities for international tourism and easier international communication.
This policy brief aims to show the efficacy of these migration networks through the example of Romanian migration to Spain, and demonstrates how various features of these networks undermine the intended migration policy goals.
During the last ten years, Romanian citizens have become one of the strongest migrant groups in Spain, although to date there are still no opportunities for longer-term residence or employment, officially. The number of Romanian migrants in Spain with residence permits