There are a total of 9.980 English residents in the Balearics and there are 19.34 per cent more foreign residents than last year. According to central government figures collated in March this year, there are 56.791 registered resident foreigners in the Balearics. The largest foreign community is German. The 12.365 German residents account for nearly 22 per cent of all foreign residents. The English community is the second largest, followed by 6.133 Moroccans. Over the past twelve months 9.980 more foreign residents have been registered in the Balearics with the predominant nationalities being from the 14 European Union member states. There are a total 33.621 EU nationals resident in the Balearics. Other important communities are the 2.968 French, 2.842 Italians, 2.652 from the Dominican Republic, 1.724 from Argentina, 1.701 Colombians, 1.377 from Holland and 1.004 Belgians. However, the latest report reveals a number of new nationalities. There has been a slight increase in the number of residents from Nepal, Kuwait, Trinidad and Tobago, Congo, Togo, Liechtenstein and Uzbekistan. Last year in Palma, the number of foreigners applying for resident permits out numbered Spanish nationals. According to city council figures last year 11.608 European Union and non-European Union nationals applied for residency in Palma, slightly more than the 11.542 Spanish nationals. The two main reasons are that there has been a sharp decline in the number of Spanish nationals moving to Palma over the past two years, while the number of foreign applicants has trebled in some cases. In 1999, for example, there were 4.000 foreign applicants, last year there were over 11.000. Palma schools have subsequently seen the number of foreign pupils rise by 161 per cent over the past five years. At the start of this year there were 5.774 foreign students enrolled at schools and colleges in the capital. The majority of foreign pupils are aged under five, indicating that the majority of foreign residents moving to Majorca and Palma are young families looking for a new life and opportunities. Due to the currently low birth rate in Spain, there is also a gap in the labour market and the regional authorities have recently repeated the need for more foreign residents to help meet employers' demands, such as bus drivers from South America, despite the economic down turn.

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