STAFF REPORTER ON 7 February 2005 the new ruling of the Foreigners Law will be effective, and offices in Palma are expecting to become inundated with immigrants and questions.

This new law will make it possible for immigrants to regularize and normalize their legal situation in the Spain, as at present many immigrants in Spain are in a type of no-man's land.

The employers who have taken on immigrants will be responsi ble for queuing at the relevant offices for this new paperwork from February 7.
In preparation, immigrants will have to already have speeded up procedures to gain their certificate showing they have no criminal record.
This certificate is an essential part of the process for the immigrants to take advantage of this new ruling. As a result the embassies, in particular Colombia and Ecuador, have been full to capacity with requests for this certificate.

Who benefits?
Currently there are between 25'000 and 30'000 immigrants in the Balearic Islands who will benefit from this new ruling, according to information from the Government Representative's Office.

Papers required a) A job contract for a minimum of six months and signed by the employer and employee (it does not yet need the Employment Exchange stamp). b) Penal Certificate from the immigrant's home country, which must show that the immigrant has had no previous convictions. c) Census Certificate, which proves they have been on the census for a minimum of six months.
The process will be running from 7 February until 6 May 2005.
It has to be the immigrant's employer who presents the relevant paperwork at the office in question.
Where to go?
The Balearic Government will open three offices in Majorca, where this new process will be dealt with; in Palma at the Social Institute of the Sea on Muelle Viejo (no number); in Inca at the National Social Security Institute on LLorenç Maria Duran Street, number 44; in Manacor at the Social Security Treasury on Calle Doctor Fleming number 25.

The offices will be open Monday to Thursday, from 9am to 5pm, and on Fridays from 9am to 2pm. At present it is not known if there will be an appointment system.

Places NOT to go
THE Foreigners' Administration Office will NOT be dealing with any of this paperwork. This office on Calle Querétaro (no number) will remain open only for normal duties (renewals, family groupings).

Police Stations will NOT be dealing with this new ruling either, so it is advised not to queue there.
THE Social Services Institute will keep both immigrants and employers informed throughout the process. As part of this, the Immmigration Information and Orientation Offices (OFIM) will be holding various open sessions. There will be a series of orientation conferences that will jointly be run by the relevant Town Halls and Cáritas. The first of these was held in Artá on 20 January. Other towns where this event will take place are: Capdepera, Felanitx, Alcudia, Sa Pobla, Inca, Búger, Campanet, Selva, Inca, Caimari, Sineu, Sencelles, Santa Eugenia, Costitx, Lloret, Maria, Binissalem, Lloseta, Alaró and Consell. For any questions on this new ruling and the process go to a local OFIM office. Last week the Social Services Institute contacted 1'400 immigrants, informing them of the changes.