The British government spent £80,000 of taxpayers’ money flying 200 Eastern European immigrants back home, only for many to return just weeks later. The migrants were flown back to Romania and Bulgaria in the first three weeks of this year, using tickets paid for by the Home Office, according to a Freedom of Information request.
The Mail on Sunday reports that the migrants were flown home following a government crackdown on foreign vagrants sleeping rough on Britain’s streets. London landmarks have become centres for foreign-born gangs, who have set up makeshift camps, dumped rubbish and urinated in the streets. They have also been linked to an increase in crimes such as pick pocketing, aggressive behaviour and prostitution.
However, many of the beggars who have been deported have since returned to the UK under different names, taking advantage of EU free movement rules.
A police officer who wished to remain anonymous told the Mail on Sunday: “Some of them have been banned from this country and they come back using false identities. It’s a waste of money. We need to have a border regime that is efficient and effective and doesn’t let these people come sliding back in.”
Alp Mehmet, vice-chairman of Migration Watch UK criticised the taxpayer-funded flights: “This strikes me as a colossal waste of money because there’s no control over who comes back.
“There’s only a very light check in respect of those coming from the EU into this country. So it doesn’t surprise me that there’s anecdotal evidence of Romanians coming back when they know they’ll get a free ride again back to their own country.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “No EU national has unrestricted access to the UK. Those who are found to be abusing their free movement rights are given every opportunity to leave voluntarily.
“However, if they consistently refuse this support, are destitute and cannot demonstrate that they have a right to reside in the UK, our only option is to enforce their removal.”