Camp Migrants Returning Home

Camp Migrants Returning Home

By Kristen Beacock
Peterborough Today, June 3, 2010

Homeless migrants in Peterborough are abandoning their squalid makeshift camps in significant numbers to return home.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) has revealed that since launching its tough pilot scheme in April telling foreign EU people sleeping rough to get a job or leave the country, they have found 77 people and the majority have decided to leave.

These figures follow a snap homeless count by Peterborough City Council, police and St Theresas charity last week which shows homelessness among migrants is still an issue.

Of the 26 people found sleeping on the streets of Peterborough, 22 were foreign nationals and believed to be different to the 77 identified by the UKBA.

Another makeshift, migrant camp has also been discovered by the ET yesterday in Thorpe Meadows.

City MP Stewart Jackson said he would be meeting immigration minister Damian Green to discuss the citys situation: People are rightly upset that the image of Peterborough has been damaged because of the EU migration policy and I will be meeting with Mr Green in the next few weeks to talk about the action taken by the UKBA.

He said that immigration has been the number one issue for Peterborough for the last five years.

He added: I will also be writing to all the ambassadors of every EU country asking them to do more to ensure that people do not come to the UK to not work and claim benefits. They cannot be a burden on city taxpayers.

The scale of the issue has been highlighted by the ET over the last few months. The city was chosen by the UKBA to pilot the scheme aimed at making homeless EU migrants find work or leave the UK.

In just two months, 77 migrants have been found by the UKBA with 28 agreeing to go home voluntarily and one being forcibly deported.

The remaining 49 have been served with minded to remove letters by the UKBA asking them to attend an interview.

After this, 12 are now waiting to leave, 15 are working with their embassies to leave, 16 people are being helped get their ID documentation back so they can leave and three have managed to find work. Three cases are currently outstanding.

Despite the rise in homelessness recorded in Peterborough, chairman of St Theresas Sue Watters said the figures were a true reflection of the problem.

She said: In terms of population our problem is not that dissimilar to London and these numbers reflect the numbers we see coming through our doors.

The fact that we are finding more people is a positive thing and the council has put a lot more resource into the problem but this number is still the tip of the iceberg.

The fact the problem is big and we have had our funding stopped it is a massive issue for us but the public have never been so generous with donating to help us.

A council spokeswoman confirmed all of those found sleeping rough were offered drug, alcohol or lifestyle support from St Theresas.