Staff Reporter
THE number of immigrants who have asked for their situation in the Balearic Islands to be legalised is a lot lower than what was predicted before the new amnesty process started (in fact it is only 11.7 percent of the estimates), said Ramón Socías, the central Government representative.

In the first few months of the new immigration ruling only 3'524 immigrants have asked for their situation to be legalised. Ramón Socías estimated that around 30'000 non-European Union foreigners who “do not have the legal paperwork to remain in the Balearic Islands” should be taking part in the immigration process. For this reason Socías is concerned as it means that “not enough legal work contracts are being granted”.

There are sufficient offices and civil servants currently available to deal with all immigration requests in Majorca, Minorca and Ibiza, the Government representative said, although he thinks that there will be an avalanche of submissions a few days before the process is closed, on 7 May. “We get the impression that many employers are waiting until the last month of the process before presenting foreigners' contracts”, he added after admitting that the process which began on 7 February is developing at a lot slower rate than what was expected. “Once all the correct paperwork is presented at the relevant offices, it then takes a month for this paperwork to be processed before the immigration situation is legalised. So if employers are waiting until the last month it will mean that they will not have to pay their foreign workers until the high summer season starts in May and not before, when they probably do not really need the worker”, Socías argued.

In any case, it is imperative that employers legalise immigrants' work situations before the completion of the process, as “now is the time to do it”, Socías warned. He denied that there has been a “breakdown” in the workings of the process, “although there are some people around who would like to see this process break down”, he added.

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