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No queue jumping by immigrants

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G Shepherd Sheffield, S36

Some recent letter writers such as Vin Malone and Linda Mary Luke might not get quite so irate about refugees jumping the housing queue if they took the trouble to look at facts instead of myths.

The home office puts asylum seekers through very thorough checks before accepting their status as refugees, and some would say the emphasis is placed on refusal.

Vin Malone suggests that asylum seekers state they will be killed if they go back. Presumably the Home Office agrees in those cases where their application has been granted. Until then they cannot claim a house or support unless they are totally destitute in which case they are given somewhere to stay, often B&B, with no choice, and a card to claim food valued at around £37-50 per week.

In his recent letter Vin linked refugees and immigrants together seemingly unaware that many of our immigrants have migrated into Sheffield from Europe in the same way that many British have taken up residence on the continent. (Including Linda Mary Luke who started this debate and gives her address as Germany.) If she bothered to speak to those she describes as lining the streets of Sheffield she would find that some are indeed Asylum Seekers who have fallen through the system.

With regard to European immigrants the evidence is that 60% live in private rented accommodation. Some have bought property or live with friends whilst only about 11% are in social housing, not by jumping the queue but by passing the same criteria as what Vin calls "white people." Incidentally they are known to contribute more to the economy than they take out.

To sum up, there just isn't any queue jumping by immigrants. The confusion may arise because many of those being targeted are living in private rented accommodation originally built as council houses. The real problem here is the lack of council houses. Many of these are now in the hands of private investors following the disastrous sell-off by a Tory government. But that's another story.