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Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The models

There are 3 groups of foreigners in Spain (not including the immigrants):
- The hotel tourists
- The non-resident property owners
- The residents.

There are no permanent and clear divisions between the groups. Most property owners and residents start as hotel tourists. We have today also the ones not owning a property, but staying for tourist purposes in privately owned dwellings, instead of hotels. We can also differ between legally registered tourist dwellings, and non-legal.

The non-resident property owners are the ones that have bought a property while still working in their home countries, using the Spanish dwelling for occasional vacations, or for letting to the tourists in the first group. Since a tourist can stay legally in Spain for 3 months within a 6 months period, many of them come to Spain in the beginning of October, staying for 3 months in the second half of the year, and without leaving Spain continuing into the next 3 months of the following half year, completely legal. They are the biggest group of the foreigners.

Then we have the residents, legal or de facto. The legal ones have the "tarjeta comunitario" (our resident permit), unless they have been working and contributed to the social security system, in which case they are exempt. In addition we have the ones staying for more than 6 months per calendar year, without a residence permit and without being exempt. The reasons for their silent refusal to take out a residence permit can be good (their home country creating complications or different opinions within the family) or not so good (evading income tax for residents).

The Spanish government had the obligation to transform into Spanish law the EU directive 38 of 2004, making us all European citizens, without any obligation to carry a residence card. The government has not complied with that obligation, without giving any explanations. The national association Ciudadanos Europeos has written the minister of the interior to demand the transformation into Spanish law of the EU directive. If the government procrastinates, the foreigners will start actions. We do not want to be foreigners anymore, but Europeans.