A Daily Mail reporter cited private contractor Serco as saying late Saturday it housed as many as 100 recent stowaways in hotels across the country. Serco also said the asylum seekers are provided with an equivalent of $7.8 in daily allowances for essential products.
“It is outrageous that asylum seekers are being put up in hotel rooms at public expense,” the publication quoted Alex Shelbrooke, a Conservative Party lawmaker, reacting to the revelations.
The publication’s investigation has led it to Lancashire County in northwest England, where it spoke to two Sudanese migrants who had been transported there after crossing the Channel Tunnel.
The two individuals, who gave only their first names, said they were taken to Lancashire as part of a convoy of 100 migrants distributed inside three coaches. They went to say authorities, who had held them in custody overnight, dropped them off across hotels in groups of 20 along the way.
Serco denied allegations of misusing taxpayers’ money, arguing that it receives general funds from the UK Home Office.
The publication claimed the Home Office pays private companies over $234 million to find would-be asylum seekers temporary residence after they are caught entering the UK illegally.
Another investigation conducted by the Sunday Express has found that some truck drivers allegedly charge stowaways over $1,800 each to smuggle them inside the United Kingdom.
The crisis in the northern French port of Calais has erupted in recent weeks as nearly 4,000 attempts have been made to enter the Channel Tunnel by boarding passing trucks or trains en route to Britain. These attempts resulted in several deaths among the migrants and traffic disruptions in the tunnel.
In a joint article published by the Sunday Telegraph, UK Home Secretary Theresa May and French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve called on other European Union members to assist in alleviating the Calais crisis.
UK Prime Minister David Cameron pledged additional fences and sniffer dogs on Friday, while Cazeneuve said 120 additional police officers will be temporarily deployed in Calais to prevent the migrants from entering the channel.