Hundreds of migrants missing in UK

TEHRAN, Aug. 08 (MNA) – Hundreds of migrants who entered Britain by crossing the English Channel on small boats remain missing after they absconded from their hotels.

The sources added that government ministers had held urgent discussions between departments over "the tracking" systems responsible for monitoring asylum seekers' movements after most of them arrive in the UK from France by boat, the Daily Mail quoted unnamed sources as saying.

The total number of boat migrants entering Britain has already passed 10,500 this year, 2,000 more than the 8,417 refugees who arrived in the whole of 2020.

A government source stated that "there is growing consternation across government about how many are coming here – and where they all are going. Nerves are fraying on this".

When in the UK, the migrants are accommodated in hotels, where they are due to quarantine for ten days before being processed. About 10,000 hotel beds across Britain are now reportedly taken up by the migrant arrivals, with hotels block-booked by the Home Office until January for the purpose.

Last week, The Daily Mail reported about 55 migrants being housed in a fancy hotel in Central London, where they were "allowed to come and go as they please" and where the rooms are equipped with wi-fi, air conditioning systems, and flatscreen TVs.

The report followed British Home Secretary Priti Patel praising the country's Nationality and Borders Bill, which aims to tackle Britain's "broken asylum system" and "break the business model" of people involved in facilitating illegal crossings into the UK.

The bill, which passed its second reading in the Commons in late July, stipulates allowing Border Force officers to turn back migrant boats attempting to cross the Channel from France and use "reasonable force, if necessary".

French President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly rejected London's proposals to create joint sea forces to stop and return migrant boats to France.

Paris insists that maritime law obliges French patrol vessels to stop the migrants' boats only if they seek help or need rescuing. London, however, asserts, that the rules of the sea envisage the interception of "illegal" efforts by migrants to enter UK waters.

In late December 2020, the UK Home Office revealed that at least 37,302 migrants living in Britain have disappeared in the country over the past three decades.

Commenting on the matter, a Home Office spokesperson said at the time that "while even one absconder is unacceptable, this is historic data that covers a period of over 30 years and many of these individuals have likely left the country".

The spokesperson pointed out that London has "a dedicated national absconder-tracing team working with the police, other government agencies, and commercial companies to track down and bring absconders back into contact with the Home Office".

Alp Mehmet, chairman of the watchdog Migration Watch UK, expressed concern over the Home Office figures, which he said was a sign that Britain's immigration system doesn't work.

"This is a shocking failure. It is ridiculous to intercept those crossing the Channel illegally or after they emerge from the back of lorries, only to turn them loose to disappear into the undergrowth of the shadow economy", Mehmet told reporters.

The remarks came after the Home Office confirmed an incident earlier in December when at least eight asylum seekers went missing from a former army barracks in Kent that was being used to house refugees.

HJ/PR

News Code 177096

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