According to statistics published by the Ministry of Employment and Social Security, the number of work permits granted to foreigners in the first three months of the year fell by 31.6%. The regions which registered the most significant decreases were Cantabria, which fell by 74.1%, and the Balearic Islands, with a decline of 55.2%. The volume of work permits dropped in all regions from January to March this year, compared with the same period last year, and only rose in the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, with an increase of 70.6%.
As well as Cantabria and the Balearic Islands, also with notable decreases were Murcia, which fell by 44.3%, and Asturias, down 44.2%.
Across the whole of Spain 42,411 work permits were issued in the first quarter of the year, which is 19,579 fewer than in the same period last year, and represents a decrease of 31.6% on average. The only regions with declines below that average were Madrid, the Basque Country, the Canary Islands, Valencia, Aragon and Extremadura.
In absolute terms, Diario Sur reported that Catalonia is the region in which the decline is most pronounced, with 5,350 less permits granted than in the first quarter of 2012, followed by Andalusia, with 2,951 fewer permits issued, and Madrid, with a decrease of 2,014.
Madrid, however, was the region which granted most permits, with 10,787 (15.7% less than in 2012), ahead of Catalonia (8,734 issued and 38% less) and Andalusia (5,665 issued and 34.3% less). Conversely, in La Rioja only 207 work permits were granted (43.1% less than the previous year), 244 were granted in Ceuta and Melilla (70.6% more) and 253 were issued in Cantabria (a decline of 74.1%).