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EURES helps 1 200 Bulgarians find seasonal work in Spain

While facing unemployment or earning the minimum wage, more than 1 200 Bulgarian women decided to take up a new challenge and turned to the public employment services (PES) and EURES to find seasonal work in Spain. During last year’s selection process, more than 4 000 people were interviewed and 1 273 women were selected to pick raspberries on Spanish fruit farms.
In the agricultural field, the collaboration between Spain and Bulgaria stretches back to 2004, when both countries ministries of labour signed an agreement allowing Bulgarian agricultural workers to find jobs in Spain. In 2009, the Spanish labour market opened its “doors” to Bulgarian workers and, since then, farmers from Spain look frequently for workers through the Bulgarian PES and EURES.
“Jobseekers are usually unemployed women registered at the local labour offices and another group is composed by women who are not unemployed but get the minimum payment in Bulgaria and would like to earn additional money for their families,” explains EURES Adviser Elena Vidinska.
Galina Viktorova Naidenova is one of the 1 200 women who travelled to Spain last year looking for a seasonal job opportunity. “I left for Spain in March and returned in June. I was glad I had a job for those months and I plan to apply again this year. Although we faced some problems, we had good work conditions,” she says.
Agricultural skills and experience needed
EURES, through the local labour offices, is managing and assisting the selection process, mainly by pre-selecting candidates and helping Spanish employers to organise interview sessions in Bulgaria.
“Last Spring, we ran four campaigns – two in Sofia, one in Haskovo and another in Shumen – to select raspberry pickers for Spanish farms, having had 4 138 applicants and selecting 1 273,” says Elena. According to the Bulgarian EURES Adviser, similar recruitment events will be organised in 2013.
“Applicants do not have to speak a foreign language, but they need to have agricultural skills and some experience. They apply and work hard on Spanish farms to earn as much money as possible. Some have been doing it for years,” says Elena.
A large demand for workers
From the employers’ side, the collaboration with EURES and the Bulgarian PES has proved successful and is set to continue. “We had to respond to a large demand for seasonal workers in the agriculture field and thanks to the EURES programme we managed to bring enough Bulgarian workers to meet the labour market needs,” concludes a representative of the Spanish Association of Producers and Exporters of Strawberries, from the province of Huelva.
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