Calais chief wants migrant deal with UK

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The president of the French region that includes Calais has suggested migrants seeking asylum in the UK be allowed to lodge their claim in France.

Xavier Bertrand said 9,000 migrants, many trying to get to the UK, were in a Calais camp known as the Jungle.

Mr Bertrand said he wanted a new deal in which migrants hoping to claim asylum in the UK would be able to do so at a “hotspot” in France.

Those who failed would be deported directly to their country of origin.

Calais has become the focal point of France’s refugee crisis.

The Jungle camp is expanding and almost every night people there try to hide inside vehicles entering the port and the Channel Tunnel to get to Britain.

Passport checks

Mr Bertrand wants changes to the bilateral agreement between France and the UK called the Treaty of Le Touquet.

Under the treaty, British immigration officials check passports in Calais and their French counterparts do this in Dover.

Mr Bertrand does not have the power to change the treaty but two of the candidates thought most likely to win next year’s French presidential election support his idea that it be either reformed or annulled.

It is understood Home Secretary Amber Rudd will go to Paris this week to discuss the treaty.

Border controls

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said border controls for migrants in France should be shifted back to the UK.

Earlier this month, local councils in the UK said they should be involved in assessing the needs of child migrants in Calais before they arrive in the UK.

About 4,000 lone children are claiming asylum in the UK, with their care and resettlement down to local authorities.

The Local Government Association said earlier involvement would make it easier for councils to help children settle.

 

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