Sunday, November 01, 2015

Free Home Not Enough for Eritrean 'Refugee'

The Eritrean fled persecution in his war-ravaged country, survived nearly drowning at sea, faced kidnap by ISIS, starvation and dehydration and made it to Britain by hanging on to the outside of a Eurostar train.
But he has turned his nose up at the UK and its goodwill by telling he expected MORE from the country putting a roof over his head at the expense of the taxpayer.
The asylum seeker is one of scores of migrants who have illegally entered the UK and are being housed in properties owned by a hotel magnate in a quaint village near Heathrow, while their applications for asylum are processed.
They stay in picturesque Longford, outside west London, for initial asylum processing.
After a few weeks the migrants are then moved to more affordable homes in the northern cities of Manchester and Liverpool, before the next new arrivals are brought to the 14th-century village. 
Speaking exclusively to inside his new Longford home, a shared house with four other refugees, the 33-year-old, who did not want to be identified, described a perilous trek across Africa, then Europe, that also included a two-week stay in Milan, Italy, on the way.
He paid "a lot of money" to traffickers to spend days being driven in trucks across dangerous desert and through areas in Libya where kidnap by twisted ISIS jihadists posed a risk. He then boarded a crowded boat bound for Italy.
He and everyone on board the crammed vessel nearly became the latest casualties of the migrant crisis when it ran into difficulties prompting another international rescue.
A map showing the journey from Eritrea to Britain
A map showing the migrant's journey from Eritrea to Britain
We expected more. The first thing...well, this place is clean and they are a good service.
33-year-old Eritrean migrant after a week in the UK
He said: "The only way from Libya is by boat. I was on the boat for five hours, but it sunk. After five hours the rescuers came from Italy."
After being rescued, he and hundreds others were held in Italy for six days before being allowed to move on through Europe by train.
He said: "Two days after the rescuers came, we moved somewhere for days and then we go Milan (by train). 
"I stay Milan two weeks."
The migrants mainly stayed within the city’s central railway station, where humanitarian workers fed and aided them, while they sought onward travel.
The journey from Libya to Heathrow would be another around 1,500 miles of travelling – by train to Calais via Paris before spending five days in Calais’ notorious Jungle - the huge makeshift refugee camp near the Eurostar and Channel ferry terminals.
He waited for a chance to join one of the much publicised groups of up to 150 who storm their way into the Eurotunnel and stowaway aboard freight and passenger trains, again risking life and limb.
This year 10 people have died after being electrocuted or falling off the trains which travel at speeds of up to 100mph
But the asylum seeker said: “If you get on they do not throw you off.”
Once at Dover he and other "successful" migrants were arrested and held before Home Office contractors arranged transport to and lodgings at Longford.
He arrived there on October 21.
Now he spends days in the west London village where a three bedroom semi-detached property costs about £400,000.
But explaining what he thought of the UK so far, he said: "We expected more."
When asked what he had expected, he paused before saying: "The first thing...well, this place is clean and they are a good service." 
Residents in the village were in uproar after daily coach loads of refugees and migrants began being bused into the village this summer.
They are put up in the Heathrow Lodge budget hotel, or about 10 houses throughout Longford, all owned by owned by multi-millionaire Surinder Arora.
Longford has become an unofficial holding area for scores of migrants who are brought in by the coach load daily and then housed there by companies Clearsprings, Serco and G4S under Home Office contracts worth a total of £642million over the five years from 2012 to 2017.
Even the Home Office was critical of Serco for using the luxury mode of transport in that case.
A limo, costing £3,000, was used to ferry a group of migrants out of Longford
A limo, costing £3,000, was used to ferry a group of migrants out of Longford
Some have even dubbed it Britain's Calais - because of the growing number of economic migrants being shipped in.
Traders in the village have complained that groups of displaced migrants hanging around on the streets have affected custom.
Rana Saif, 55, who runs the pub opposite the Lodge, said the huge influx of migrants has wrecked his business and he is extremely close to shutting shop.
The Kings Arms pub landlord said: "It has driven me out of my business. I am leaving here because I have no money to stay.
He now shuts early at about 10pm each night.
Under the Home Office contracts the asylum seekers are said to get three meals a day delivered to their door.
Landlord Rana Said says asylum seekers sitting in the street are putting off customers
Landlord Rana Said says asylum seekers sitting in the street are putting off customers
Our interviewee had been at a house owned by Mr Arora next to the hotel for about a week.
And what of his new neighbours in the village?
"Yes, they are OK. They only mind their own business. It is quiet here, very peaceful.
"People stay here 20 days. After they find somewhere else for you. 
"There is a distribution centre nearby we have to go there in the daytime while we are waiting.
“In two to three weeks we go to Manchester or Liverpool. I am happy to be here." 
The Red Cross in Liverpool last month revealed it has seen 1,900 mostly Syrian and Eritrean migrants at its drop-in centre in the city where free food is provided.
Figures obtained by earlier this year showed more than 1,600 migrants being housed in the two cities between January and March this year.

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