In November 2008 the Spanish government authorized a voluntary return program for foreign workers in order to decrease unemployment pressures in the wake of 2008/09 financial crisis. Voluntary return programs are not new. France appears to have been the first country which authorized them in the wake of the oil crisis of 1973/74. This paper analyzes the Spanish voluntary return program against the background of lessons provided by the thirty years long experience with similar programs in France. The aim of the paper is to assess to what extent could voluntary return programs help both the developed and the developing countries cope with the effects of the crisis.
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