Benefit claims by Eastern Europeans [in Britain] have almost trebled in the past year, official figures show. The cost of the payouts - to almost 112,000 migrants - is put at £125million a year. The Home Office figures mean that one in six of an estimated 683,000 Eastern European incomers is living off the state to some extent. A year ago, only 42,620 were claiming benefits. [...]
Once a migrant has been working here for 12 months, they are entitled to the same level of support as any British citizen. Many Poles are drawn by generous handouts for parents who, in some cases, can claim benefits for children who remain in their homeland.
In the second quarter of this year, the number of asylum applicants removed because they were not considered legitimate refugees declined by more than a third compared to the same period last year. There were 3,280 deported compared with 5,260 in the same period last year - and many of those went voluntarily with financial help.
It means that a ''priority'' Government target to remove more failed asylum seekers than there are new applicants has been missed. The Home Office blamed the fall on the diversion of officials to the deportation of foreign criminals rather than would-be refugees.
However, recent figures showed that just one fifth of the 1,000 foreign national prisoners who were released without being considered for deportation have been thrown out of the country.
Only last month Gordon Brown insisted that all foreign criminals “will be deported”. Yet under EU law, the Government has known for three years that it has no such powers. [...] As the Home Office solicitor complained at the hearing, so long as the criminal has lived in this country for five years or more – whether or not at Her Majesty’s Pleasure – Britain “could never deport a lifer who had been released from prison and was an EU citizen”.