Migrants lured to Bradford by promise of work, find themselves in lurch 7th January 2011: Severe cold notwithstanding, many Eastern European migrants are compelled to sleep on streets, charities assert.
Only this week, the Telegraph and Argus reported the accidental death of Slovakian migrant Pavol Medzei. He lived in an outside toilet for four years and slept on a mattress in a cavity in a wall at the back of a takeaway in Whetley Lane.
He was just one of the hundreds migrants sleeping rough in Bradford.
Reacting to his death, Helena Danielczuk, working for Bradford’s Sharing Voices organisation, described the incident as tragic.
She said it was unfortunate it had taken a man’s death to underscore to the plight of other Eastern European migrants living in misery.
Migrants in search of greener pastures, she said, were more often than not lured to Bradford by the promise of work. But once they handed over their passports, they never got them back.
Helena said the victims were not just gullible, silly youngsters, but could be even professional, talented people.
They then tend to go off-the-radar. In the absence of documents, they find themselves unable to officially register to work for 12 months required by the EU until they can earn benefits so they have no money.
According to the EU law, Eastern Europeans can come into the UK as long as they are self-sufficient. They must pay £90 to the Home Office and then work continuously for 12 months to get the same status as other EU migrants.
Helena said all it needs is for them to fall on hard-times. Lose their job, get sick and they are out on their ear. Because they have no work and no money, no benefits and no recourse for public funds, they can’t get help.