Staff reporter THE central government representative in the Balearics, Miquel Ramis, claimed yesterday that an administrative “shake up” at the Islands' registration office for foreigners, had enabled more than 50 percent of outstanding cases, backlogged over the last few months, to be resolved. He was confident that the situation would “normalise” before the end of the year. Ramis claimed that the Office had streamlined the processing of applications by foreigners in the Balearic Islands and had thereby resolved more than 50 percent of the “in tray”. Figures had dropped from 33'000 still pending at the beginning of June this year, down to 16'000 at the end of October. The largest batch of paperwork still to be processed consists of applications for work and residents' permits, as well as renewals for the same. Ramis explained that the number of applications that are submitted on a monthly basis number some 4'000, and this figure is increasing on a daily basis. However, 70 percent of the documentation is rejected on the grounds of applications being incomplete and incorrectly presented or the foreigner in question is seeking the same job as a Spaniard. Ramis reported that staffing levels at the foreigners' office have increased from 16 to 36 people and that they now occupy a larger working area of some 1'200 square metres. The representatives said that of the residents' and work permits applications (and their renewals) initiated during 2003, the majority were for people coming from Morocco, Ecuador and Colombia. Ramis acknowledged, however, that “in spite of a much improved service, we are still not satisfied” and recognised that there was still “room for improvement”. He clarified that the National Ombudsman for Quality in Public Services is setting up a procedure whereby the current system can be improved even further. Ramis claimed that the problem of coping with paperwork related to foreign immigration is a reflection of a “wider phenomenon affecting society”. In the future, Ramis warned, demographic movement of people to a supposedly better life in Western society is going to be a greater problem than “terrorism, unemployment or the environment” if adequate policies are not developed. An internment centre for foreigners who are here illegally has not yet been opened, but he suggested that the old jail would be suitable premises. He added that 113 foreigners had been expelled this year.