Town halls have problems with verifying the status of foreign citizens, | Archive

The Aviba association of travel agencies in the Balearics estimates that there are currently some 3,000 illegal resident travel certificates which entitle the holder to claim the 75% discount on travel to the mainland. Aviba has put a financial value on these illegal certificates - six million euros.

The president of the Felib federation of town halls, Antoni Salas, said on Tuesday that town halls are experiencing problems because of a lack of personnel. These boil down to an inability to verify the status of foreign citizens who request certificates - do they live in the Balearics permanently or are they temporary residents?

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Salas points to a lack of administrative personnel and police. The latter is important because the police are the only ones who can truly establish the status of foreign citizens. He doesn't challenge the Aviba figures, stressing that Felib has the same interest in eradicating resident discount illegality as the travel agencies have. There is, after all, a direct impact on state funds, given that it is the state which provides the subsidy.

He adds that there must be a thorough investigation by the relevant administrations and that Felib's own legal services will be analysing the situation.

Aviba president, Pedro Fiol, said on Tuesday that agencies are wary when dealing with a foreign customer who books a ticket with a resident discount but who has not been verified by the SARA system for administrations' applications and networks. He observed: "There are foreign citizens who have obtained the resident travel certificate by presenting passports and without any document proving their registration."