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Unemployed migrants moved from Sussex
4:50pm Thursday 14th June 2012 in News
Jobless and homeless Eastern Europeans are being forcibly removed from Sussex.
Polish, Latvian and Lithuanians are swelling the numbers of homeless people in the county as seasonal work that brought them to the county dries up.
Police in Bognor and Littlehampton have now begun passing lists of names to the UK Border Agency, which has the power to forcibly remove people from the country if they are not working or “self-sufficient”.
About 6,000 Eastern European migrants have moved to the area since 2004 and registered to work although records do not show how many have since left.
The work is being carried out under Operation Accent, a dedicated police operation to tackle problems among the Eastern European community in West Sussex.
Inspector Nick Bowman, of Sussex Police’s Arun district, said more than half a dozen people have been reported to the UK Border Agency, with lists being drawn up on a monthly basis.
He said: “They come here because they are following the work.
“We have seen an increase in homelessness with people from Eastern Europe.
“We say to them, go and be homeless in your own country, because it is a drain on resources. It is a lawful process.”
Arun District Council demolished a seafront shelter in Bognor recently because it had become a haunt for homeless Eastern Europeans.
Marine Gardens in Waterloo Square – where murder victim Marek Pudlowski was found dead in 2008 – is a known troublespot.
The UK Border Agency confirmed it is using powers to remove jobless people from the country.
A spokeswoman said: “People from within the European Economic Area who have been in the country for longer than three months have to be working, studying or self-sufficient in order to have a right to stay, as required by EU law.
“If they are not, or don’t have a genuine prospect of doing so, the UK Border Agency expects them to return home. If they do not we will take action to enforce their removal from the country.”
The scheme came in for criticism when it was piloted in London, Oxford, Reading and Peterborough in 2010, with the European Federation of National Organisations Working With the Homeless saying it was opposed to “arbitrary expulsions”.
But Councillor Paul Dendle, of Arun District Council – who is standing for the Conservative nomination for this year’s Sussex police and crime commissioner elections – said he welcomed the move.
He said: “A lot of Eastern Europeans work very hard and they are valued members of society.
“At the same time we don’t want to import problems of other communities into this country.”
Homelessness among Eastern European migrants is also an issue in other parts of Sussex, including in Brighton and Hove.
Senior officers in the Brighton and Hove and East Sussex divisions of Sussex Police said they were not aware of the scheme being used in their areas.