By Paula Escalada Medrano.
Many qualified Spaniards in search of a better future are setting their sights on Mexico, whose economic prospects remain positive despite the global slowdown.
Engineers, graduates in business administration, journalists, sound technicians and advertising professionals are leaving Spain in search of job opportunities not currently available in their homeland, whereas Mexico offers them a promising future.
In the first half of this year some 1,031 Spaniards obtained Mexican work permits, the document known as FM3, about 34.6 percent more than during the same period last year, according to figures of the National Migration Institute.
Mexico's OCC employment Web site notes that in all of 2011 a total of 514 job applications from Spaniards were added to its database, while in 2012 there were already 674 by the month of July.
In the opinion of OCC public relations director Fernando Calderon, the Mexican labor market offers a lot of opportunities in a country where a dynamic private business sector continues to spur the country's economic growth.
The Mexican economy grew 4.3 percent in the first half of 2012 over the same period last year, though a slight slowdown is forecast in the second six-month period to close the year with an approximately 4 percent increase.
Unemployment in Mexico dropped to 4.8 percent of the workforce in the second quarter of the year compared with 5.2 percent in the same period in 2011, while in Spain the jobless rate stands at 24.6 percent overall and an astronomical 53 percent among people under the age of 25.
Spain's unemployment rate ballooned in the wake of the bursting of a massive property bubble and the global recession.
Although the country is mired in its second recession in three years, Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy's administration has adopted a series of austerity measures in recent months in a bid to meet a European Union-mandated budget deficit target.
At first many Spaniards consider moving to Mexico not worth their while because of the unfavorable euro-peso exchange rate, but in view of Spain's lack of jobs "it's better to have than not have," Calderon said.
The sectors where Spaniards chiefly look for work are in advertising and communications, followed by engineering and management.
It took just 15 days for Rodrigo Gil, 24, a sound specialist from Valladolid, to find work in one of the most important companies in the sector.
"There are very few people studying that subject here but there's a lot of work - in Spain it's just the opposite," said Gil, who last September decided to pack his bags and head for Mexico after three months without a job.
According to figures of Spain's National Statistics Institute for the year 2011, some 86,658 Spaniards live in Mexico, a number that falls short of the real amount since many citizens fail to register at their consulates.
Unlike in other countries where more restrictions apply, when Spaniards come to Mexico they are granted a tourist visa good for six months and can immediately start looking for work and applying for the corresponding permit.
"When I got to Spain I never though there would be so many people without jobs...nor so many well qualified Spaniards looking for work no matter what it paid," Natalia Acevedo, a 34-year-old Argentine-Spaniard, told Efe.
Faced with the crisis in Argentina, she returned 10 years ago to Spain to study for her master's degree and get a job, until last November when she received an offer from a Catalan company to move its digital marketing business to Mexico, a country where it was easy to fit in and where there are 4,500 Spanish companies.
Luis Uranga, director of UR Global, a Spanish company that helps companies seeking to move their businesses to Mexico or Brazil, is convinced that leaving Spain is the only way to survive for many companies that are having a rough time.
"The way ahead (for companies moving to Mexico and Brazil) is more difficult than it was a few years ago, because there is more competition and they have less money, so it's harder for them...they have to work more but in general they're all doing well," Uranga said in an interview with Efe.
While before the crisis some 12 Spanish firms were founded per year in the two countries, Brazil and Mexico, today there are 30, above all small and medium-sized businesses.
"Yes, coming is definitely the way to keep from going" out of business and without a job, Uranga said, referring both to companies and young people who, full of ambition, see few possibilities at the moment in Spain. EFE