Up to 14,000 foreign residents in Mijas who have not confirmed their details on the ‘padrón’ (municipal census) in the last five years, and who refuse to do so, could face a fine of 150 euros, the Town Hall warned this week as it launches a new campaign to obtain realistic population figures for the municipality.
Marta Rey from the Mijas Foreigners’ Department tells SUR in English: “Under the bylaw that regulates local population, the refusal of Spaniards and foreigners who live in Spain to register as residents at their Town Hall could mean fines up to 150 euros.”
“No fines have yet been issued [in Mijas] but files have been opened for one Spanish couple, one British couple, and a family from the Ukraine, who refused to register with the Town Hall and who wished to use local services, such as social workers and kindergartens.”
The council stresses that it does not “go out and look for people who are not on the register so that they can then proceed to fine them if they do not comply. These files have been opened because the families involved have come to the Town Hall to demand that they be given aid of some sort.”
Indeed, to make it as easy as possible to confirm one’s details on the padrón, where possible the council is now sending ‘census agents’ to the homes of those who could be removed from it to ask them to sign a form. It would be the refusal to confirm and sign the said paperwork that could pave the way for residents to receive the 150 euro fine.
The current campaign was initiated, explains Ms Rey, after the local administration received a report from the Malaga Statistics Department saying that 14,000 foreigners could be eliminated from the Mijas ‘padrón’ as they had not confirmed that they were still living in the municipality in the last five years.
She says: “We realise that many of these people probably have returned back to their home countries, moved to other destinations, or even passed away outside of Spain - but we also know that there are an awful lot of them who do live here and are not registered.
“It is very important to register so the Town Hall can adjust the services to the needs of the population and for the central government to estimate the number of policemen, doctors and schools, etcetera, needed in the area.”
One German-born resident of Mijas Pueblo, who did not wish to be named says: “Everyone in the town is talking about the threat of getting fined for not updating their details on the ‘padrón’. I think it’s good that the Town Hall has the power to issue fines because it will act as a clearly much-needed incentive to do what is required.
“Without the fine, people would perhaps be less inclined to make the effort - regardless of how small that effort is.”
Silvia D’Amato, an Italian resident of La Cala de Mijas, agrees: “I’m aware of at least three couples who, due to the possibility of a fine, are heading to the Town Hall to confirm their census details next week.”