Joan Collins THE number of foreign residents on the islands from countries outside the European Union, and who have a residence card, fell by 19.74 percent between April 1 and June 30 this year, according to figures from the Spanish Ministry of Work and Social Affairs. This figure was made public after it was revealed that it was the intention of the Spanish Government to encourage foreigners from outside the European Union to vote in the local town elections next year. In April this year the Ministry figures indicated that in the Balearics there were 121'335 residence cards held by foreigners. Three months later, on June 30, the figure had dropped to 110'084, which is a fall of 9.27 percent. The fall is especially noticeable in the case of foreigners from countries outside of the European Union. In April, the number of immigrants with a residence card, and who worked on the islands, was 66'028 but three months later the number of residence cards was 52'991. In this case, the fall was 19.74 percent. In the case of foreigners from European Union countries, the process was reversed as there has been a rise of 3.22 percent. In April there were 55'307 European citizens with residence cards, which rose to 57'093 by June 30. What is surprising is that this fall in the number of residence cards happened just after the extraordinary process of “legalisation” for immigrants. The fall could be interpreted in two ways: either these are immigrants who have decided to leave the islands to seek work in other regions of Spain or there are more than 11'000 immigrants who have not renewed their residence cards. One outstanding figure which reflects the size of this reduction in the number of residence cards is shown by comparing the figures for the Balearics with the national average. The drop in the number of residence cards throughout Spain was a little more than 114'000 in the case of foreigners from outside the EU. This means that the Balearics had the highest proportional drop (10 percent) in residence cards in comparison with the rest of Spain.