UK wants landlords to evict failed asylum seekers

2015-08-03 17:00
Migrants walk along railway tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal. (Philippe Huguen, AFP)

Migrants walk along railway tracks at the Eurotunnel terminal. (Philippe Huguen, AFP)

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London - The British government plans to require landlords to evict migrants and asylum seekers who fail in applications to remain in the country, a minister said on Monday, the latest measure in what critics have called an increasingly harsh policy towards migrants.

Landlords who do not evict migrants lacking the right to remain in Britain, or fail to carry out proper checks on their status, could face prosecution and a maximum punishment of five years in prison, Communities Secretary Greg Clark said.

The measure would be included in a new immigration bill and follows tough rhetoric from Prime Minister David Cameron and other ministers amid blanket media coverage of the crisis over thousands of migrants stranded in the French port of Calais, a hub for ferry and tunnel links to Britain.

Hundreds of migrants reportedly clashed with police overnight in Calais as they tried to enter areas used by road and rail traffic heading for Britain.

"This is another stark example of the need for a greater level of solidarity and responsibility in the way we deal with migratory pressures in Europe," European Commission spokesperson Mina Andreeva said of the Calais crisis.

Areeva said the commission is "aware that the situation is deteriorating" in Calais and supported closer co-operation between the British and French governments.

The commission can provide "technical assistance" and emergency funding, "like we actually did already for an emergency day accommodation centre", she said.

But she said all EU members must "show solidarity and take their share of responsibility", adding that all countries are expected to take part in the EU's relocation mechanism for migrants.

Britain retains a right to opt out of the relocation mechanism and has said it would not accept a national quota under the programme.

Cameron was scheduled to chair another meeting of the Cobra emergency committee to discuss the migrant crisis on Monday.

He drew widespread condemnation after he vowed last week that Britain would deport more illegal migrants, "so people know it's not a safe haven". Cameron said Britain and other European nations faced a "swarm of people coming across the Mediterranean, seeking a better life".

On Sunday, Morgan Johansson, Sweden's justice and immigration minister, accused him of "playing politics" with the crisis in Calais, saying it resulted from Britain and France failing to take responsibility for accepting more asylum seekers.

Read more on:    eu  |  david cameron  |  uk  |  migrants
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