Loads of people keep asking me the same question, ‘but why do these people want to come to England!?’
This was one of my questions too… Why England when they’ve already made it into France?
So I asked several people in the camp and this is what I learnt from them…
So turns out lots of the people in the camp AREN’T trying to get to England at all… Many people ARE applying for refugee status in France, but as this is a long process during which you are not allowed to work, you are left with little choice but to stay in the jungle and wait (up to two years!)
The number of people that are trying to get into England is actually pretty bloody tiny compared to the amount of refugees in many other European countries like Germany or Italy.
Those who ARE trying often have family or friends already in the UK who they are trying to reunite with, or have even lived in the UK before!
Language is also a huge factor. The level of English in the camp is high and everyone I spoke to is keep to get a job and support themselves ASAP…much easier if you have a basic grasp on the language. This is also much more likely than in Greece or Italy where finding work at all is not going to be easy!
Many people have also grown up learning about how amazing England is and have very high expectations of it as a country… Life in the jungle in France still leaves a lot to be desired so I guess people hope for more prospects in England…not in terms of benefits (asylum seekers can’t actually tap into the benefit system and instead receive a tiny £36.62 a week compared to £88.65 in Norway or £67.56 in Germany) but it terms of finding work.
Finally there is a district lack of information available for people in the camp, especially those with no phones, making it difficult for them to make an informed decision about where to go to be safe, have work, and live.