How have the people living in "jungle" squatter camps around Calais been obtaining food and medicine?



Does the French government allow those living in the "Jungle" and similar squatter camps to claim benefits?

How have the "jungle people" been obtaining food and having their medical needs met? Have they relied entirely on charities, or have they been able to claim French welfare benefits?

Most of those in the camps have entered the EU without documentation, however, they have not attempted to claim asylum in France, but instead are intending to travel to the UK.


Posted 2016-03-11T11:11:07.090

Reputation: 8 094


You are wrong about the Dublin regulation. You are for instance allowed to seek asylum in a country where you have your family. Also the regulation is for countries, not persons. See

– liftarn – 2016-03-11T11:32:08.627

If they were able to claim French welfare benefits, I suspect they wouldn't be living in camps. I would note that the British system isn't any better, but they probably don't know anything about the benefit system of these countries so that doesn't necessarily matter. – PointlessSpike – 2016-03-11T13:45:07.383

1@PointlessSpike Do not underestimate the education level of these refugees. They know very well how the asylum and welfare systems of different states work and how to obtain that information. – Philipp – 2016-03-11T13:49:18.103

@Philipp- What's the basis for that assertion? – PointlessSpike – 2016-03-11T13:55:39.963

4@PointlessSpike Because otherwise they wouldn't take so much hardship to travel through all of Europe to reach very specific destinations. – Philipp – 2016-03-11T14:30:41.270

1@Philipp- People have given their lives for a lot of stupid things over the years. They're coming from a war zone, in a country that was never prosperous to begin with. They've been driven out, so clearly they weren't in the best of circumstances to begin with. I would not assume we're getting Syria's best and brightest. – PointlessSpike – 2016-03-11T14:39:04.957

7@PointlessSpike My impression of a lot of the Syrian refugees, who I have seen on TV, has been that they are quite well educated. Remember they need a goodly amount of money to make the journey, to pay the rogues who supply them with leaking boats, and to sustain themselves on the journey and thereafter. But let us not underestimate their desperation to leave Syria where many face a choice between being in the front line of a war or starvation in the hinterland. What would any reasonable person expect them to do but to flee? – WS2 – 2016-03-11T21:09:27.783

@SVilcans Thank you for the contribution. You clearly have a more detailed understanding of Council Regulation 343/2003 than I do. But I still find it difficult to understand why people with children would stay in those appalling camps with their rivers of mud and about one toilet to every 300 people when they could apply to the French government for leave to remain, and receive some form of assistance. What on earth do they do if they are ill? – WS2 – 2016-03-11T21:18:45.830

2@Philipp There are many valid reasons to seek specific destinations beside “benefits” (first and foremost knowing somebody who can help set you up, language, perceived work opportunities, etc.) And what little research I am aware of (a survey in Calais actually) suggests many people there did not start the trip with the UK as their only goal but decided on it based on information they got during their journey. – Relaxed – 2016-03-12T08:03:44.603

@Svilcans The Dublin system is indeed for countries, which means that it does not make sense to write that people are “allowed” to apply here or there. The system entails no obligation whatsoever for asylum seekers. People are not required to claim asylum in the first safe EU country into which they land and countries are always free to examine an application if they want to (what the bit about family members is about is making it mandatory for a country to process an application even if the person could otherwise be sent to another country under the Dublin regulation). – Relaxed – 2016-03-12T08:11:27.870

4@Relaxed Another perceived advantage of the UK over other European countries is that historically it has a larger "black economy". It is easier to find work, without identification, or national insurance particulars, in return for "cash-in-hand" at the end of the week. Certain employers are less interested in your legal status. So a lot of people can exist, a bit like "wet-backs" in the USA. The government has been and is making some effort to change this culture. – WS2 – 2016-03-12T08:22:32.430

2@WS2 Yes, that's part of what I meant by “work opportunities”! But like yourself I am still a bit puzzled by the whole Calais situation. – Relaxed – 2016-03-12T08:48:49.370

I don't have time to write an answer, but it seems some basic medical care is provided by the French state, while charities deal with other needs like food and clothing (link in French).

– TonioElGringo – 2017-06-29T16:34:32.113

No answers