Immigrants Set Up Camp In Hyde Park As They Hunt Jobs

Unemployed Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants, desperate for work in Britain, are camping out in London’s Hyde Park. The men and women have resorted to setting up tents beneath trees and bushes because they have no money to pay for accommodation.

They choose wooded and covered areas where they are less likely to be spotted and where they are able to stay virtually unchallenged. Many of them are jobless but determined to find work here, in spite of regulations making it difficult for people from the two countries to find employment.

Emerich Dinu, 22, from Romania, said he has been camping in the park for weeks. He said: “It is a great place to sleep. You can come here at night and there are no police or wardens to stop you. As long as you pack your tent up and hide it in the day so that no one can see it is fine. There is no way they can police the whole park – it is huge. If you find a hidden area then you can stay for days in your tent and you will not get caught.”

Tsvetana Jovtchev, 27, from Bulgaria, said she had been unable to find a job since arriving in London. She added: “I do not want to go home yet. I can earn good money in this country – much better than at home. But it is much more difficult than I thought it would be. My government should warn us how difficult it is to come here and find work. I will keep trying to get a job. Many of my friends had to sleep rough but they have managed to find jobs.”

The immigrants’ plight was highlightedon the BBC’s Newsnight programme last night. A 23-year-old man known only as Daniel said he had lived in a Romanian orphanage until the age of 18 and had arrived in London two weeks ago in search of a better life.

He admitted life in the park was tough but said he did not have enough money for a hotel room – or for the coach fare home. “It is very difficult in the park but I have no choice,” he said. “I did not know it would be so hard to find a job but I will keep trying.”

Daniel also described how he was tricked into parting with his savings in order to travel to England. “I met this guy who said, ‘Let’s go to England’ because life there is very nice. He said: ‘You give me 500 euros’ and he paid for my flight.

“And after we arrived he said he’d call a man who would get us work. But after we’d been waiting three hours and it was getting dark the man didn’t turn up. For me, it was a nightmare.”

Adam Sampson, chief executive of homelessness charity Shelter, said: “Governments must ensure they provide adequate information to potential migrants so people can make informed decisions before travelling to Britain. There is a need for local authorities to provide a good range of services for those people who remain homeless and are sleeping rough in the United Kingdom, whether these people be Eastern European or of any other nationality.”

People were allowed to come from Romania and Bulgaria to the UK legally when their nations joined the European Union on 1 January but restrictions were placed on their ability to work. This has meant there is now an unknown number of people from the countries who cannot find jobs here – but cannot be forced to go home.

Hyde Park manager Steve Edwards said he was not aware of any encampments and added: “Any such influx will not be tolerated – even in the short term – by the Royal Parks Police.”