Madrid promises Ibiza its own independent immigration office – Ibiza News

May 6th, 2009 - 2:05 pm Posted in ibiza news | Comments (0)

The Spanish Ministry of Public Administration has now indicated that it is willing to establish a separate immigration office on Ibiza. This was confirmed at the beginning of April by the then-minister, Elena Salgado (Social Democratic Party, PSOE), during a visit to the island.

This is a clear signal that Madrid is finally, after months of resistance, giving in to the demands of immigrant associations and local politicians from across the political spectrum. Back at the beginning of the year Salgado had stated that the immigration office, currently located in the national police headquarters, had enough personnel and material resources to get the job done.

Now the ministry is doing a U-turn. “We are working to have the immigration office up and running by 1st July.” said the minister, after meeting with the central government’s two Balearic representatives, Ramon Socias and Sofia Herranz. The new office will be housed in Casa del Mar, next to the Gran Hotel Ibiza, and staffed by six administrative officials. The residence of the government representative for Ibiza and Formentera, Herranz, will also be located in the same building.

Unlike the current immigration office, independent immigration offices – which are generally only to be found in provincial capitals – have more qualified staff and better equipment. Hence EU citizens living in Palma can get their certificates of residency the same day they apply for them, whereas the same certificate on Ibiza will not be delivered until several days later.

The announcement by Salgado – who was to take over the post of economy minister in a cabinet reshuffle a few days later – was welcomed on Ibiza. In recent months, all of the parties represented in the Island Council had been exerting pressure on Madrid. Even the regional parliament representatives in Palma had voted unanimously to ask the central government to negotiate.

Those in favour used recent statistics from the residents’ registration office to argue that an independent immigration office was urgently needed: whereas the proportion of foreigners on the Balearic Islands as a whole is around 25 percent, the number of non-Spaniards living on Ibiza and Formentera is significantly higher at 33 percent.

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