Belgium'sunwanted refugees head for London

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The Independent Online
ALMOST 400 refugees have arrived in London on the Eurostar in the past month after being ordered to leave Belgium by immigration officers.

Home Office officials have complained to Belgian authorities that their "notices to quit" are leaving the refugees from Kenya and the former Yugoslavia with little option but to come to Britain.

The asylum-seekers are told they must leave the "Schengen" open-border territory, which includes Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Holland and Portugal. Because Britain is not a signatory to that treaty, London is an obvious destination for them.

Last night the Home Office said it was aware of the increasing problem, and added that if a solution could not be found at official level then ministers might have to take it up.

In addition, immigration officials have been dealing with a large number of Somali refugees who are arriving at Waterloo on the Eurostar from Paris. These, however, had first declared their status on arriving here. Those coming from Belgium had had contact with the police there, though it was not clear whether they had applied for asylum.

Passengers boarding the Eurostar at Brussels are not subject to immigration checks.