There will be 2.5 million legally-registered immigrants in Italy by the end of this year, according to the annual report by the Catholic relief agency Caritas.

By the end of this year the percentage of immigrants to population in Italy will be 4 per cent, compared with 9.4 per cent in Austria 8.9 per cent in Germany, 5.6 per cent in France and 4.1 per cent in the United Kingdom.

This year's figures are likely to reflect the immigrant population in Italy more accurately than in previous years because the recent amnesty has allowed large numbers of illegal visitors to register their real status. So far 500,000 applications have been processed or about 86 per cent of the total. The remainder should be completed by the end of the year.

Of the total number of immigrants 44 per cent have lived in Italy for more than 6 years. Only 10,000-11,000 each year become citizens and then almost always by marriage.

In the city of Rome there are 213,834 legally registered immigrants, over half of whom are women. Filipinos still make up the largest single community in the capital followed by Romanians. Filipinos predominate in all the municipi, except for the VI (Tiburtina) were the Bangladeshi are the most numerous foreign group, the VII (Tuscolana) where the Egyptians prevail (the VIII Torre Spacata- Tor Bella Monaca) which is home to the Romanians and the XIII (Ostia Lido) where the Poles congregate.