Legal immigration boom stressing UK

Stephen Beard Jul 7, 2006
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Legal immigration boom stressing UK

Stephen Beard Jul 7, 2006
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MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: The British government has been accused of dramatically underestimating the scale of immigration into the UK. An influx of workers from Eastern Europe is putting pressure on British housing and public services. From London, Stephen Beard reports.


STEPHEN BEARD: When East European countries like Poland joined the EU in 2004, many Britons feared a huge influx of workers from the East.

But the British government soothed those fears. It said that no more than 13,000 migrants a year would head for Britain. Eighteen months later the actual figure, according to a new study, is half a million.

The sheer numbers are causing a problem in some areas. Cheryl Cooper, a councilor from Slough near Heathrow Airport, says her town cannot cope.

CHERYL COOPER: They have nowhere to stay and nowhere to live and we estimate that about a thousand houses have been turned into house in multiple occupation where Polish migrants are actually sleeping on the floor.

The new study shows that unemployment and low wages at home are driving East Europeans to migrate to the more buoyant UK.

In London, this is Stephen Beard for Marketplace.

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