A fresh bid to encourage immigrants, whatever their legal status in the Balearics, to register with their local councils was unveiled yesterday. Balearic Minister for Social Welfare, Fernanda Caro, unveiled the “Once immigrants, now citizens” campaign explaining that the initiative is part of the Balearic Immigration Plan and will be accompanied by a series of subsidiary campaigns “to inform immigrants to the Balearics about the importance of integrating in our society.” Claro said that she hopes by enabling immigrants to register with their local councils, “they can start to feel and be considered as righteous Balearic citizens.” The Minister was quick to point out that registering with their local council is neither an alternative to applying for resident and work permits nor a short cut to legalising their position in the country, “but it will entitle immigrants to a series of services, such as medical care for the elderly who do not have enough money, discount on public transport and rights to receiving an education etc.” Caro also explained that including immigrants in the population census “does not necessarily pose any threat to people in the Balearics without the correct documentation, no more than those people having to walk the streets with the threat of being asked by a police officer to present their documentation....so they have no need to worry about the implications of the new campaign” The local government hopes that all of the 8'365 immigrants who applied for legal status in the Balearics during the last application period, will register with their local councils. Of that figure, 2'300 have been processed, the majority with a positive result, according to the director general of the Balearic Social Services Institute, Josefina Santiago. While the remainder wait to see if their applications have been expected they are advised to register at their town hall. Caro has a budget of 1'600'000 pesetas for the new campaign which involves the distribution of 5'000 posters and 10'000 leaflets at information officers and immigration centres. All of the literature has been printed in five languages, Arabic, English, French, Catalan and Castellano. Last year a similar campaign was mounted by the Secretary of State for Employment and Social Services, in co-operation with the local councils, and approximately 10'000 immigrants registered with their town halls in the Balearics. mc.mdbUbitel.es

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