From time to time the Government or its agencies place asylum seekers in accommodation in Crawley.
Europa Hotel on the outskirts of Maidenbower has been used as a transit site for asylum seekers awaiting longer-term accommodation in other parts of the UK. Due to an increase of people fleeing war and persecution from various countries, those seeking refuge in the UK has also increased and so has the amount of people being accommodated at transit sites.
The people who have been staying in Crawley are asylum seekers who have made a claim to the UK government. They have all been through initial processing and security checks carried out by the Home Office.
An asylum seeker is a person who has applied for asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention on the Status of Refugees. A refugee is an asylum seeker who has had their application accepted. An economic migrant is a person who has left their own country and seeks, by lawful or unlawful means, to find employment in another country.
Up to 150 asylum seekers stay at the hotel at any one time, although there are often far fewer than this.
Currently, asylum seekers stay for a maximum of five days before being transferred to longer-term accommodation in other parts of the UK.
Between 30 and 200 asylum seekers arrive in the South East every day. Transit sites allow time to arrange a more sustainable housing solution and also breaks up potentially very long journeys to other parts of the UK. Transit sites are found in various towns in the South East due to their proximity to Dover.
The asylum seekers staying at transit sites have already gone through the first stage of checks. This includes matching fingerprints on an international database and thorough health screening.
Most people being accommodated at the hotel are from Syria, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Iran and African countries - mostly Eritrea, Sudan and Somalia.
They are provided with a room, food and a support contact. Although they are legal in the UK and are able to move around freely, they are advised not to leave the hotel during their stay. Most are unable/unwilling to leave due to a lack of money.
Every asylum seeker, regardless of age, is given £36.95 per week to cover all costs including food, personal hygiene, travel etc. This payment would not be made during stays at transit sites as they are provided with full board.
The Home Office does not provide dispersal accommodation in Crawley, therefore asylum seekers will only stay in the town if they are housed by family or friends.
There have been no reported crimes committed by asylum seekers. Unfortunately, threats on social media relating to the hotel has caused concern to police. This was handled appropriately but police and Crawley Borough Council would like to remind residents to consider their conduct and keep in mind the atrocities and danger many of these people are fleeing from.
If a person enters the UK because they are escaping persecution, the UK government is obliged to provide refuge under the 1951 Refugee Convention. Asylum seekers need to fulfil a number of criteria to be granted refugee approval: they are outside their own country; they have a well-founded fear of persecution; persecution is due to race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion; they are unable to rely on their own government to keep them safe. The UK is committed to the United Nations Responsibility to Protect Framework which lays down a responsibility to protect populations from the crimes of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and ethnic cleansing.
There were 31,400, of which 41 per cent were allowed to stay.
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