'We want to work': refugees tell France why UK is so attractive

New arrivals in France lack rights and help in navigating minefield of bureaucracy, French MPs have been told.

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Asylum seekers continue to flock to Calais in the hope of reaching Britain because France does so little to help new arrivals find work, retrain or integrate, a group of immigrants has told MPs, reports The Guardian.

Four refugees, including three Sudanese men who are the subject of our 18-month project, The New Arrivals, spelled out how desperate life is for newcomers in France in a letter to their MP during consultations on France’s new immigration and asylum law.

Ahmed, Ali and Mohamed also met their local MP, Bénédicte Peyrol of President Emmanuel Macron’s ruling party, to set out their frustrations with the “bureaucracy and indolence” of the current system.

“Lots more people will go to Calais because they are hearing stories like ours: it takes too long to get work in France, and so people prefer to leave,” the letter said, according to a copy seen by the Guardian’s partner paper in the project, Le Monde.

“It’s lots of waiting and no rights,” it added. “We don’t have the right to work, there are no French lessons, or only with volunteers. To wait without knowing if one has a future, without knowing if one will be accepted or not, is psychologically very difficult.”

Opponents of immigration in the UK frequently ask why asylum claimants do not settle in the first safe country they come to, but instead go to such extreme lengths to reach Britain. In fact, the UK habitually deals with fewer asylum claims than the likes of France, Germany and Italy.

Read more of this report from The Guardian.

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