Monday, December 11, 2006

Most of the 1,000 immigrants allowed in to Britain from the Sangatte Red Cross center are now jobless

Ben Leapman:

Four fifths have claimed Job Seekers' allowance at some time since entering the UK in December 2002 as part of a deal with France to shut the hostel. A third has never been in work.

The group, mainly young men from northern Iraq and Afghanistan, were invited to Britain by David Blunkett when he was home secretary. He promised they would work and pay taxes.

"We will ensure that those who might have reached Britain clandestinely will not be subject to continuing support from the British taxpayer." he said, announcing the Sangatte deal to MPs. The men were treated as economic migrants rather than refugees and were granted free accommodation, English lessons, training and help with finding employment.

Yet according to figures obtained from the Department for Work and Pensions, only 42 per cent were known to be in work at the most recent count, in April. Up to 25 per cent were on benefits. The rest had disappeared.

They may have melted into the black economy, in which case they are paying no taxes. A very small number may have left the country of their own accord. Last week the men's four-year permits to live here expired, although most are expected to get extensions. None is likely to be sent home.

Blunkett reaches deal to shut Sangatte camp

New immigrants' wages falling behind

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