Spain is giving the idea a shot. Last year, the country's unemployment rate was estimate at 8.3 percent. Now, nearing a 15-year jobless high of 11.3 percent, comes the Plan of Voluntary Return, which went into effect Monday.
Time magazine has more:
- "(The plan) entitles legal immigrants who have lost their jobs to receive unemployment benefits as a lump sum payment - as long as they agree to leave the country. Participants must turn in their residence permits and work visas and promise not to return to Spain for three years. In exchange, they receive 40% of their total unemployment payouts before departing and the remaining 60% once they are home - an expected average of just over $40,000 in total.
...Between April and August of this year, the number of immigrants receiving unemployment jumped from 165,217 to 280,298.
The Plan of Return also represents a sea change in the Spanish government's once famously lenient immigration policies. Three years after offering work and residency papers to 750,000 migrants in a massive legalization, Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero has gone on record supporting the European Union's controversial Return Directive, which allows members states to hold undocumented migrants for up to 18 months. His government is also spending greater resources on preventing migrant-laden boats from reaching Spanish shores, and is studying a plan to restrict regroupment immigration to parents and their under-18 children."
Is anybody going for it? Polling, says Time, show that only 8 percent of Moroccans, Spain's largest immigrant group, would be willing to turn over their visas, while only 186 Ecuadorans, the country's second-largest group of immigrants, have signed up for the program.