New York, NY (BBN)- A senior United Nations official dealing with population issues on Thursday urged governments not to use migrants as scapegoats amid the current international recession, warning that migrant workers are already particularly vulnerable to job cuts during economic crises.

“Migration flows are going to be disturbed and migrants are going to share the negative effects the economic downturn is having on the whole population of the world,” said Hania Zlotnik, Director of the Population Division at the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA).

“It is very important that at this moment there is already a mechanism by which countries can talk to each other,” Ms. Zlotnik told reporters at UN Headquarters, referring to last month’s Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), which was held in the Philippines’ capital, Manila.

Since 2007 there has been an increase in the unemployment rates of key groups of migrants in different countries, according to Ms. Zlotnik.

Spain has seen a sharp increase in the number of unemployed foreigners. Between April and June at least 100,000 more people lost their jobs in the Iberian nation, taking the total number of jobless migrants to 280,000.

The same trend is appearing in the United States where the unemployment rate among Hispanics is rising and for the first time in several years the rate of out-of-work immigrant Hispanics is higher than the rate of non-immigrant Hispanics at around seven per cent.

The global recession has also contributed to the sharp decrease of the number of people detained for illegally crossing the border into the United States from Mexico. There have been around 40 per cent fewer detentions than previous years, as incentives for jumping borders decrease with the declining prospects for economic prosperity in other countries.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-21November08-8:57 AM (BST)