THE Algerian community in Majorca said yesterday that the problem of illegal immigration could be solved by making it easier to obtain a work permit.
The President of the Balearic Association of Algerian Immigrants, Noreddine Belmeddah, said over the weekend that more opportunities and facilities need to be made available for Algerian immigrants who wish to come and work in Spain.
Last week, over 30 Algerians were arrested as they tried to slip into Majorca by boat from North Africa and the security services are on full alert with more attempts expected to be made over the next two weeks.
But, Belmeddah maintains that if more work permits were made available, then more Algerians would obviously follow the correct and legal route into Spain. He added that some consider it unfair that, while a Spaniard can easily get a visa to go to Algeria, Algerians have great difficulties coming here.
Most of those arrested last week are now being held in detention centres on the mainland and will eventually be repatriated.
Those thought to be responsible for last week's crossings will appear in court in Palma.
Belmeddah has been in contact with those arrested in Majorca and has been working closely with the Guardia Civil.
He explained that, contrary to popular belief, none of the immigrants come from poor backgrounds.
Belmeddah said that all of them are middle class and had the necessary resources to organise a trip.
As reported on Sunday, they are believed to have paid between 500 and 1'000 euros for the crossing. They are intelligent people who came to Majorca in order to progress and find success in Europe, he said. But, as they could not get visas, they tried to get into Europe illegally. Now they will be sent home, he added.
The Guardia Civil and Local Police forces in the south of Majorca are on full alert for the arrival of more boats of illegal immigrants.
The two mobile maritime detection radars are understood to have been moved to more effective locations - neither spotted the two boats last week - and local fishermen have been asked to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious vessels or activity.
Residents in Santanyi, where both vessels landed last week, claim that they have a local contact in the area who is guiding the boats ashore.