By Humphrey Carter
PALMA City Council is having to draw up an immigration plan to meet the needs of the municipality's rapidly growing foreign population.
According to the latest figures provided by the city council yesterday, at the end of 2003, there were 55.217 registered foreign residents living in Palma, just over 15 percent of the population. However, although as yet unconfirmed, the foreign population in Palma has grown further since the end of 2003 and could now account for as much as 20 percent of the local population. The latest figures, unveiled by city councillor for social services Margalida Ferrando, are the basis on which Palma's new immigration plan is being devised. The councillor explained that 52 percent of Palma's foreign residents are from either central or south America.
20.5 percent are European Union citizens and 12.5 percent from Africa.
The foreign community is also relatively young with 60 percent aged under 40 and with a near equal share between men and women.
ARGENTINA
The largest foreign community is from Argentina.
Non-European Union residents account for 80 percent of Palma's foreign population and the Argentinians account for 19 percent.
The Ecuadorian community accounts for 16 percent, the Colombians 10 percent, the Moroccans six percent and the Bulgarians five percent.
What is more, 49 percent of Palma's foreign community come from Spanish-speaking countries and 85 percent come from Christian countries.
Only 10 percent of the foreign community in Palma come from Muslim countries.
The majority of Palma's foreign residents live in five key areas.
Cala Major (47 percent), the harbour area (43 percent), San Agustin (41 percent), El Terreno (37 percent) and Las Maravillas (36 percent).
However, the non-European Union residents tend to live more in El Terreno, Sant Jaume and Sindicato.
The councillor for social services said the new plan is being drawn up to provide immigrants with much greater access to city council services. They want to encourage new arrivals to register with the town hall and make sure all their paperwork and documentation is in order.

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