Migrant living under boat on Kent beach warns others crossing Channel, 'Don't come here'

  • ITV Meridian's Joe Coshan has been speaking to Alaa Eldin about his journey to the UK and his fears for other migrants attempting crossings.

An asylum seeker, who has been living under a rowing boat on a Kent beach, is warning other migrants crossing the channel, not to come to the UK.

Alaa Eldin told ITV Meridian that Britain's asylum system is "broken", and says he has been trying to leave the UK on the back of lorries, but keeps getting caught by the police.

Speaking next to the overturned boat he's been sleeping under for the last few months, Ala said: "I'm homeless, I have no money and I can't leave this country.

"When I try to leave the police catch me and bring me back here and said you're not allowed to that."

"The system is broken, the system is not like it used to be."

Alaa Eldin is desperate to leave, but says he's "trapped" in the UK. Credit: ITV Meridian

The 25-year-old paid people smugglers £3000 to cross the Channel on a small rubber dinghy with more than 40 other people in 2021.

Alaa says he was evicted from a hotel used to house asylum seekers in Leeds last summer after trying to find work on the black market - something that is forbidden under Home Office rules - so his asylum application was withdrawn.

He has been sleeping rough for the last few months on the Kent coast as he is no longer entitled to housing or financial support from the government.

As a teenager, Alaa fled Syria because of the civil war. He claims returning home would mean being conscripted to the army.

He has been trying to leave the country to get to Germany to work as a plasterer and settle with relatives.

Dover-based migrant welfare charities say he's not alone.

  • Kay Marsh from migrant-welfare charity Samphire says she knows of a small community of asylum seekers who want to leave the UK

Asked whether Alaa's asylum claim is genuine given his attempts to work, Kay Marsh, Media and Advocacy lead at Samphire, told ITV Meridian: "If you look at his story, he had a genuine reason for leaving a genuinely war-torn country, and by law he's allowed to claim asylum in any country that is party to the 1951 Refugee Convention, which we are, so he has a right to be here.

"Alaa is not the only migrant trying to leave the UK because of the hostile environment that's been created for them.

"The focus at the moment is 'we want to get people out of the country', now we see there's at least a minority of people wanting to leave and there's no mechanism for them to do that."

Alaa Eldin and the rowing boat he has been living under for the last few months. Credit: ITV Meridian

Alaa says he would like to stay in the UK if he can find a solicitor to help him with his asylum case - because he says he can't access legal aid due to a backlog of cases.

However, he says he needs to find £1800 in order to cover a solicitor's legal fees.

"I can't raise that if I'm not allowed to work, so I'm stuck here."

In a statement a Home Office spokesperson told us: "It is longstanding government policy that we do not routinely comment on individual cases.

"If an individual does not have the right to be in the UK, we will make every effort to return to their country of origin or a safe third country."

ITV Meridian understands Alaa is being monitored by local homelessness charities and supported with legal advice.

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