Police in Spain dismantle 'illegal Chinese immigration ring'

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Image caption Fake contracts were allegedly bought to facilitate applications for residency permits

Spanish police say they have dismantled a nationwide network that illegally regularised the working status of Chinese immigrants in Spain.

They arrested 57 people in Barcelona, Valencia, San Sebastian and Las Palmas in the Canary Islands.

Chinese nationals illegally living in Spain reportedly paid the ring €8,000 ($8,960; £6,820) each to obtain fake contracts as domestic workers.

In return they were given residency permits.

"They would return to Barcelona once they obtained a residency permit to work in the textile sector, without ever carrying out the job they were hired for," a Spanish police statement said.

The ringleaders, a Chinese couple, allegedly paid employers between €1,500 and €2,000 for the contracts.

Most of the employers allegedly involved are linked to the hotel trade in Lanzarote, one of the Canary Islands.

Chinese immigrants are the fifth biggest foreign community in Spain with almost 170,000 people as of 2015, according to the National Statistics Institute.

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