Spain's economic depression has changed many aspects of the country, one of them arguably including the abdication of its king, but recent reports have shown that the demographics of Spain's workforce have experienced a dramatic shift. Due to the lack of economic opportunities for Spain's youth, the cost of living, and high unemployment rate, many Spaniards have left the country. Spain experienced it's first population decline since 1971 in 2012, with statistics now stating that over 310,000 citizens have left the country since the end of 2012. In spite of this, five million foreigners have entered the country's workforce, mostly from Russia, China, and other Asian countries in search of bargains for valuable factory properties, water sources, and natural resources.
Many expatriates living in Spain also are beginning to reconsider their choice to settle down in Spain's resort coastal towns. The Spanish government has passed a recent law aimed at cutting down the number of tax evaders within the country, which has led many foreigners to distrust the government due to the law's obligatory requirement to provide all information on the return of assets earned abroad. The Spanish government is in dire need of tax revenue, therefore many foreigners from the United Kingdom, Germany, and France fear that the government is looking to extract extra funds via new tax laws to speed up the recovery process. This distrust has lead to significant emigration of expatriates from the country.
Meanwhile, Spain's growing immigrant communities have been able to thrive in their new homes due to the Spanish government's help. In November of 2012, the government passed a law that offered residency permits to foreigners who buy homes worth more than €160,000, with the specific aim of drawing Chinese and Russian investment. In a time of economic crisis, the low-margin Chinese-owned bazaars, hairdressers and supermarkets have become a lure for cost-conscious Spanish consumers and contributed to successful Chinese resettlement in Madrid and Barcelona. The face of the Spain's economy is changing, along with much of southern Europe due to high rates of immigration from North Africa and the Middle East. It is yet to be seen what long-term effects these demographic changes will have on the Spanish economy, but as Spain's youth continue to search for economic opportunities elsewhere, a consistent influx of immigrant workers may prove crucial to keeping the shaken economy from sinking once again in the near future.