THE foreign population of Spain, which in the Balearics constitutes some 7.2 percent of the total, will exceed 6 million by the year 2010.
According to a report made public yesterday by a savings bank foundation, FUNCAS, there are currently 2 million people living in the country who are not Spanish nationals, of which a third come from economically privileged countries. Published in the FUNCAS magazine, Papers on the Spanish Economy and produced by experts and university professors, the study entitled Immigration: What do the Spanish think and feel about the subject? confirms that 85 percent believe that entrance to people from overseas should only be given to those who have a contract of employment, and that 74 percent are happy about their children sharing a school classroom with immigrants. Forty-six percent say that the foreign community treats them with mistrust, 12 percent say that they find people from overseas who live in Spain treat them with contempt and aggression and only 24 percent find their foreign neighbours normal and amiable. For as much as 48 percent of the Spanish population, the foreign presence in the country is too much; for 40 percent, there are enough but not too many, and 4 percent say they believe there are only a few immigrants in Spain. The document draws attention to the fact that in spite of 28 percent of the foreign population coming from privileged countries, only 5 percent of the Spanish population think of this group as immigrants. In contrast, 77 percent automatically think of foreigners from Morocco when talking of immigrants, when their presence in the total foreign population is only 20 percent. A census of the total Moroccan population in Spain is equal to a town the size of Teruel, Avila or Segovia. In 2003, the presence of foreign residents was very noticeable in: the Balearics (7.22%), Canarias (5.48%), Catalonia (5.2%), Madrid (5.03%), and Murcia (4.42%). However the percentage is considerably smaller in Cantabria, with 1.6% of its total population; Castilla-La Mancha (1.4%), Castilla y León (1.2%), Asturias (1.1%), Extremadura (1%) and the Basque Country (1%). The amount of foreigners has nearly doubled in the last four-and-a-half years. In the first half of 2003 alone, the number of legal foreign residents grew by 125'000, 10 percent more than a year ago, the report adds. According to professors José Tezanos and Sergio Tezanos, if the growth rate maintains the same levels in the short to medium term, the foreign population resident in Spain will exceed 6 million people, rising in 2015 to more than 11 million. Following the same pattern of calculation, such foreigners, who today go to make up 5.4 percent of the population of Spain, in 2010 could constitute 14.3 percent of the total, and in 2015, 27.4 percent. In the study, Eduardo Sagarra, of the University of Barcelona, and Francisco Massó of the University of Castilla-La Mancha, believe that the growing influx of economic migrants has caused a complex scenario of acceptable norms, with continuing changes that complicate legal administration, and obscure the clarity and unambiguity of Spanish law relating to foreigners. Legislation has opted for a policy of immigrant control, as opposed to integration, the research claims. With regard to the foreign population sending money overseas, the amount last year exceeded 2'300 million euros, a figure that has multiplied 2.5 times in four years. On average, each immigrant will send 3'864 euros a year out of the country, equivalent to 322 euros a month.
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