North african commynity is largest in Minorca

For the first time in Minorca, the North African community is larger than the British community, which has historically been the largest community of foreign residents on the island. According to the latest statistics, in Mahon there are 306 North African residents, with the majority from Morocco, while the number of registered British residents is 305. The recent study has also highlighted the rapidly increasing number of South Americans emigrating to the island in search of work and a more prosperous life. However, sources close to Catholic charities and foundations on the island which provide help and assistance to immigrants, have revealed that many arrive on the island with only a visitor's permit and their paperwork is not in order. The visitor's permits are only valid for a stay of three months and many end up living on the island illegally once the permit has expired. According to one non-governmental organisation, some of the South American immigrants, most of whom come from Ecuador, are loathe to go to the police and get their paperwork in order because they are worried that the information given to police will filter back to their home countries or on the other hand, have their past uncovered in Minorca. During the first half of this year, housing shelters in Mahon and Ciutadella have looked after more immigrants from South America and North Africa than in the whole of last year. What is more, in the Llevant area, the percentage of immigrants living there without the proper paperwork has risen from just five per cent last year, to nearly 50 per cent this year. By the end of July, the central government delegation in Minorca handled 448 applications for residents' permits, but only 185 managed to comply with the requisites.

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