Asylum Is 1.8bn Pound Business
Michael Lea, Daily Sun, May 12
AN entire industry has grown up to exploit Britain’s asylum gravy train, a major Sun investigation reveals today.
Lawyers, landlords, hoteliers and security firms have all grown rich from the crisis now costing 5MILLION POUNDS A DAY.
Last night, Shadow Home Secretary David Davis said: “This is a Government scandal.
“There should be no such thing as an asylum industry because cases should be dealt with more quickly.
“Genuine refugees could be processed and allowed to enter the job market — bogus claimants sent home. Unscrupulous lawyers and landlords are jumping on the band wagon to fleece the taxpayer.”
Latest figures from the Home Office show that 103,080 asylum seekers arrived in Britain in 2002.
Overall, the Government is now spending 1.8 BILLION POUNDS a year on asylum.
A breakdown of the figures reveal how millions are going straight into the pockets of lawyers and businessmen. Between April 2003 and this March, 1 in every 10 pounds spent in legal aid went to asylum and immigration lawyers.
In total they claimed a whopping 204 million pounds from the public purse — more than eight times higher than when Labour came to power in 1997.
And yesterday, it emerged that 97 rogue asylum lawyers pocketed 30million pounds by taking on cases doomed to fail.
Among them was Abbot Ozuzu who was reported by a High Court judge because his work was “not competent”.
Others cashing in include Muslim fanatic Abu Hamza’s lawyer Muddassar Arani. She has not received funding for hook-handed Hamza’s deportation challenge but has for other immigration cases.
Various British legal firms now specialise in human rights cases, among them Cherie Blair’s chambers, Matrix. Last year, it raked in more than 1.5million pounds in legal aid payments.
Millions more of our cash has gone on housing refugees. By December 2003, the Government’s National Asylum Support Service was putting up 49,760 refugees. It provided subsistence for a further 30,360.
The Home Office refused to reveal the cost, claiming it was “commercially sensitive” information.
But councils pay landlords and hotel owners up to 350 a week per room, regardless of its condition, as long as it houses an asylum seeker.
One businessman is raking in more than 2 million pounds a year of taxpayers’ money by providing basic rooms for immigrants.
Cyprus-born Savas Stavrou has built up an empire of more than 20 guesthouses and hotels and his company’s profits have jumped from 134,000 pounds four years ago to 2,354,000 pounds last year.
Some hotel owners in Dover — the first port of call for many asylum seekers — are pulling in up to 250,000 pounds annually by taking in only refugees.
Adeline Reidy, treasurer of the Dover Hotels And Guest House Group, said: “Some have decided concentrating on asylum seekers guarantees a very nice cheque.”
Last year, The Sun revealed how the once splendid Nayland Rock Hotel in Margate, Kent, had been taken over by asylum seekers.
Now the 77-bedroom hotel, owned by businessman Panayiotis Stavrou, is crammed with refugees — at a cost to the taxpayer of 1.5 million pounds a year.
In 2003, the Government removed 17,040 asylum seekers from Britain and enjoying the windfall from immigrant repatriation are firms like Securicor.
Chief executive Nick Buckles said yesterday it was proving a lucrative new market — but would not give financial details. There is also a lucrative contract for Group 4 to guard the Oakington asylum reception centre in Cambridgeshire.
Public sector jobs to provide assistance to asylum seekers have also rocketed.
Bilingual outreach workers and development co-ordinators are now highly sought after employees. Government-funded helplines and legal centres are also busy recruiting staff.
Altogether there are an incredible 180 for-profit asylum organisations in Britain.
The Department of Constitutional Affairs has pledged to get tough on the spiralling legal aid bill.
A spokesman said: “We have already made it clear we are going to take action because of grave concerns.
“Measures introduced include an accreditation system, a five-hour limit to free advice and legal aid for appeal cases only with further approval.”
And Crispin Passmore, of the Legal Services Commission, which oversees legal aid, said: “We are committed to only funding high-quality advice and representation.”