- Some Iranians want to go to Britain for a better life or to join family, migrants said
- Migrants in Calais appeared to agree with Sajid Javid's comments last week
- Some are pretending to be Christian to make their asylum application stronger
They said that while some Iranians have fled their homeland because of religious and political persecution, others want to go to Britain for a better life or simply to join family members.
A number of migrants in the Calais camp dubbed ‘the Jungle’ appeared to agree with comments made by Sajid Javid last week, which prompted a storm of protest from Labour MPs and groups supporting migrants’ rights.
Mr Javid said during a visit to Dover: ‘A question has to be asked: if you are a genuine asylum seeker, why have you not sought asylum in the first safe country you arrived in?
'Because France is not a country where anyone would argue it is not safe in any way whatsoever, and if you are genuine then why not seek asylum in your first safe country?’
About 1,000 migrants are living in camps in Calais and Dunkirk. Some 200 of those in Calais are from Iran, many of whom appear to be middle-class professionals. Some are prepared to pay gangs up to £4,000 to get them by boat to England.
Home Office figures show that 539 migrants tried to cross the Channel in small boats last year – 80 per cent of them in the past three months.
One man, Hamid, 24, an engineering student from Tehran, said: ‘Half of the Iranians in the Jungle have come out of Iran due to some political problem, but the other half have applied for asylum in other European countries and been rejected.
'They cannot apply in France because they will be sent back to the first European country they entered. So they want to go to Britain because they know the UK will not send anyone back to Iran.’
Christian convert Ahmad Hajipoor, 34, a father-of-two, said some of his fellow Iranians were pretending to be Christian because they know that will make their asylum application stronger.
‘There are about 12 to 13 from Iran in the camp who say they are Christian. I know about three of them are really Christians, the others are not genuine,’ he added.
Last week, the Government deployed HMS Mersey to the Strait of Dover, as well as two Border Force cutters to intercept any migrant boats.
Eight Iranians were arrested on a beach near Calais on Friday. They were suspected of attempting to cross the Channel but released without charge.