Spain and Senegal reached an agreement on 09 November 2007 which will grant an estimated 2,700 work permits for Senegalese workers seeking jobs in Spain.
The agreement was signed by Spanish Labour Minister Jesus Caldera and Senegalese Interior Minister Ousmane Ngom in Senegalese capital of Dakar.
The deal hopes to stem the tide of illegal immigration to the southern European Union nation. Thousands of migrants risk their lives each year in dangerous and illegal boat trips from Africa, hoping for a better life in Europe.
2,000 of the work permits will be handed out for work in fishing industry. Special training will be implemented in Senegal, funded by the Spanish government.
The remaining 700 will be earmarked for agricultural work, mainly in strawberry farming.
Senegal and the European Union have been working closely in containing illegal immigration, led by sea patrols by the European border agency, Frontex.
The efforts have resulted in a dramatic drop in arrivals to the Canary Islands, the traditional destination for illegal immigrants.
More than 31,200 illegal immigrants arrived in the Canaries in 2006, over triple the previous annual record. Only 8,200 have arrived so far in 2007.