Illegal Immigration in Gran Canaria

Many illegal immigrants from Africa spend the meagre savings they have on a passage to Gran Canaria. Rather than arriving in the land of milk and honey where accommodation and work are easy to come by (as they have been told), most of them arrive dead, almost dead or don’t arrive at all. They come over in “pateras” which are small boats.

Patera on Beach
Photo By ConilsInFronteras

The crossing can take weeks (depending on the wind and whether they even stay on course) and food and water runs out long before then. There is also no shelter from the weather.

There is a truly heartrending story on here: and also on here:

Rescue from Patera
Photo By Decols

More illegal immigrants come over than people are generally aware of. This is especially true, since most of them probably sink rather than ever arrive. The immigrants, if caught, throw their identifying documents over the side. If they don’t have a passport, the authorities don’t know which country to return them too. Some immigrants stay in Gran Canaria and others venture further north, perhaps to Spain, France or the UK.

It is a shocking situation that this happens so much here but there really is no answer except to save those we can and spread awareness of the problem.


  1. zidelkheir noureddine

    im morroccan man i speack english a ns frenns and i hop to live and work in canary islands im 24 old year and i got a diploma in computer management as im livin g exactly in laayoune near to canary island about 95 km tank u , u r a really lovely ppl

  2. Victoria (Post author)

    Hi! If you have a diploma and speak a couple of languages, you should be able to get something. It will help if you can add Spanish to your list of languages though!

    Good luck!

  3. Sergej

    Hi dear Victoria!
    Mi name is Sergej! I live in Lithuania!
    I would like to know some information how to stay in gran Canaria or Tenerife! I don`t need a job as I have! I work in oil platform! I can speak in English, Italian, Croatian, Russian!

  4. Victoria

    Hi Sergej,

    When you say “stay” do you mean for a holiday (vacation) or to live? Are you taking a break from the oil platform work?

    For an extended holiday, you can just book it. To live here more permanently, you would need to get a visa. It would also help if you spoke Spanish because this is a Spanish speaking island, but you can get by in the resort areas with English.

    All the best,


  5. peter hansen

    Retired US diplomat thinking of buying a vacation property on Gran Canaria. Looking for something on East Coast, say south-ish of airport, but not right in tourist area in far south.
    Fair amount of land, with structures which might possibly be rehabbed would be ideal. Right on coast itself not necessary.

    Would it be an imposition to ask you a question or two, via phone, at a not-inconvenient time. Thanks very much for your help. Regards, Peter Hansen

  6. Norma

    To Peter Hansen
    Contact Kolmann & Graeser
    Mobile +34 695677915

  7. Pete

    Victoria, I know that this post is old, but can you please explain what sort of visa would EU citizen (Lithuanian – EU member since 2004) need to relocate to another EU country?

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