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The paradox of having an employment contract and not being able to work

Ibrahima ended up in limbo when his request for asylum was denied despite having a fixed post, he lost the right to reside in Spain in a legal way

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The paradox of having an employment contract and not being able to work

The trick is in liquor. A dash of amaretto in coffee where biscuits are soaked gives anor flavor to tiramisu. If you want a sweeter touch, add a couple of drops of vanilla aroma to cream. He who shares his culinary secrets is not a chef from norrn Italy, birthplace of successful dessert. The cook is Malian Ibrahima. 28 years old and originally from Timbuktu, he discovered intricacies of transalpine gastronomy in restaurant Il Tocco Giusto da Luigi, in center of Madrid. Despite ir rapid learning and unquestioning talent, ir future in kitchen is threatened. Last March, Spain denied its request for asylum and catapulted it in a limbo: overnight it became a no-papers, even if it had an open-ended employment contract.

Unlike so-called "economic migrants", asylum seekers are authorized to work in Spain after six months from time y have obtained red card, document that allows m to reside legally once ir petition has been accepted a procedure. Asking for international protection is one of few legal ways to stay in country after entering illegally.

Hiring m is neir complicated nor expensive. "It is same procedure that is done with any or foreign resident," confirms Isabel Gómez, a lawyer specializing in aliens. The real drawback is that a job with contract and social security is not a sufficient condition for a non-community foreigner to be legally in Spain. Thus, if request for asylum does not come to a good end, employers have to give up ir employees, who in one blow lose position and residence permit.

Ibrahima, who asks to use a fictitious name, arrived in Canary Islands in Patera in 2013. Raised in Ivory Coast, where he worked as a fisherman and left a woman and a son, in 2010 he returned to his native Mali to meet his younger bror. He fled through armed conflict. "When I arrived I did not understand any Spanish, nor did I know what word" asylum meant! ", it has an annoyance in a Castilian that still needs to be polished. After a failed attempt to settle in Belgium, he began working at Il Tocco Giusto da Luigi in March last year through NGO La Merced Migrations.

The New Arrivals

Four million immigrants have arrived in Spain in two decades by plane, in a patera or by jumping fence. More than a million people called for asylum in Europe last year. The country has, in a 500-day project with newspapers Guardian, Der Spiegel and Le Monde, how se new Europeans adapt and how Europe adapts to m. A look at a phenomena that is transforming Spain and continent

The work is a key tool for asylum seekers to integrate and independent public aid while resolving ir request, a process that can be extended even for years, as in case of Ibrahima. When he was informed that resolution had been negative, he had been working full-time for 12 months, perfectly integrated and with indefinite contract. Their employers, however, are not willing to dispense with it.

"He has learned to make pizzas better than I do," says with some pride Paulo D'Angelo, one of owners of restaurant before enumerating some of accomplishments that young chef Malian has achieved. "It is only one who knows how to make fresh pasta of two colors," he says, "and if you don't know how to prepare a dish, quickly look at ingredients in menu and nail it."

The skill in kitchen is not only reason D'Angelo wants to stay with him. After a year toger, Ibrahima had already become a key part of restaurant from both professional and affective standpoints. "To me y are like a family," says Cook, who has just applied for residence for social entrenchment, a permit that can be ordered by migrants who prove to have lived in Spain for three consecutive years and have received a job offer of at least 12 Months. D'Angelo did not think twice and went to work so that Ibrahima could present with rest of documentation a new contract to return to restaurant. Now y are both waiting for process to be resolved so that Malian can continue to prepare ir excellent tiramisu.

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Even if reception of refugees responds primarily to a humanitarian decision, it can also become an economic opportunity if integration into labour market is achieved in a successful manner. According to a study by Philippe Legrain, founder of think tank OPEN and economic former advisor to President of European Commission, every euro that is invested today in serving refugees will yield almost two euros in economic benefits in five years.

"It is true that we must distinguish between GDP and GDP per capita because when refugees arrive, it also increases population," adds Thomas Liebig, a specialist in migration and labour market in OECD, "but initial increase in public spending related to "Welcome is already in itself a stimulus to economy." "Even more interesting is fiscal impact: in short term re is a lot of spending and few taxes, but between seven and ten years later, this disbursement becomes an annual income," he explains. According to a survey conducted by OECD and German Chamber of Commerce (a country that has received 1.3 million refugees from 2015), 80% of employers who have hired refugees are happy with m and 75% say that it has had no problem or mu And few problems in employment relationship.

"Ibrahima liked us from start," says D'Angelo. He met with Coral Castellanos, from NGO La Merced Migrations, who came to restaurant one day to ask if y needed an employee. The young man did not even finish Pizza Assistant course he was attending because he was immediately incorporated to work.

"The first day I became very nervous," Ibrahima confesses with a permanent smile stamped on his face. The tension's gone fast. "I love cooking," he says. Castellanos says that paradoxical situation in which young Malian is located is not an isolated case. "We have had whole families who have ended up in this limbo," he says. Most of time, he says, y lose job and re is no job offer so y can regularize ir situation.

The NEW arrivals project is funded by European journalism Centre with support of Bill Melinda Gates Foundation.


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