Surge in Romanian rough sleepers

Homeless migrants have tripled in a year, suggesting an influx far higher than predicted, reports Andrew Gilligan

The number of Romanians sleeping rough in London has almost trebled since controls on migrants from the country were lifted a year ago this week.


A total of 490 Romanians were counted sleeping in the capital’s streets or parks, according to new figures from the Greater London Authority’s Chain database, covering the period from June to September 2014.

This compares with 173 in the last quarter of 2013, before restrictions ended. In some parts of London, almost half of all rough sleepers are Romanian.

Alp Mehmet, the vice-chairman of Migration Watch, said: “This backs up everything we have said about the rise in Romanian arrivals since the lifting of the restrictions. The requirement that migrants, including EU migrants, must be able to support themselves remains in force and should be enforced.”

The rough sleeping figure includes the well-known group of about 40 Roma beggars who congregated at Marble Arch, but the new data show the problem is far more widespread.

Nearly 70 Romanians were counted sleeping rough in the borough of Brent, 47 per cent of all rough sleepers in the area. The number of Romanian rough sleepers in outer London has risen sixfold since the work restrictions were lifted.

In London as a whole, the figures show, almost a fifth of those sleeping rough are now Romanian, the single largest foreign nationality.

The homelessness statistics come as separate figures suggest that, contrary to conventional wisdom, there was a substantial rise in the number of Romanian and Bulgarian migrants coming to the UK after the work restrictions were ended on Jan 1 last year.

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