THE ministry for Immigration and Cooperation is to set up a central office to deal with immigrant queries.
Regional minister Encarna Pastor said yesterday at the first Immigrant seminar to be held in the Balearics since the creation of the new department, that it will help foreigners who have come to live in Majorca find all they need to know under one roof. Pastor said one of the aims of the project was to cut down the need for people to travel to several different locations in search of essential information. Welcoming people from outside the European Union, Pastor pointed out, amongst other issues, to the growth in the numbers coming from Argentina (from 1'393 in 2002 to 10'426 in 2004); Senegal (390 in 1999 to 1'184 in 2004). During the same period, the Bolivian population in the Balearics moved from only 47 to above 1'300 last year; and the Columbian community has risen spectacularly from 700 registered in the Islands in 1999 to 8'500 last year. In her speech, the minister criticised the toughening up of immigration policy recently announced by the French government in the wake of serious rioting. She believed the way to harmony lay in “mutual respect” and learning to live side by side.

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