Migrants at a government hostel in south London have said some are posing as Syrians to improve their chances of getting asylum.
After trekking across Europe, Muhammed Manlaal flew to London from Germany.
As a Syrian from war-torn Aleppo he was guaranteed asylum in Germany. But he wanted to come to the UK because he speaks English to study here.
He showed us with pride his application to stay in Britain. But the trainee architect says his nationality makes him the envy of some of his fellow hostel residents.
He said: “Lots of people want to be Syrian. Some people say they are Syrian. They take the place for Syrians which is not good.”
Muhammed told us there are people in the hostel who are from Iraq, Morocco and Egypt pretending to be Syrian.
Another man told us he was from Iran but admitted changing his story along the way.
In broken English, he said: “In England I tell I am from Iran but in the middle of there I say from Syria. In Greece I say I am from Syria.”
The Home office says it has a rigorous application process and carries out language analysis where necessary, but concerns about who is living at the hostel are shared by some in the community.
Greengrocer Muhamed Ali says there should be more checks on the temporary residents.
He said: “You could look at me and say ‘I’m with a beard’ but you can’t judge a book by its cover. I’m here. I was born and bred here and I wouldn’t want anything to happened to my family. If I’m a terrorist I aint gonna say I am am I?
ScreenGrab Lisa Holland Migration Crisis Grab Forty five per cent of the community are from black and ethnic minority backgrounds. But on Brigstock Road the presence of the government hostel has focussed minds on the issue of immigration.
Each day there are new arrivals and departures. Asylum seekers who have just arrived in Britain are brought here before being dispersed around the country whilst their applications are processed.
Hairdresser Roz Messer said: “You can’t just keep letting everybody in because there’s just not the room. Housing – none of it. It’s just going to explode.
“A few years ago we had riots in Croydon. You are going to start seeing that maybe again.
“I live in Croydon. You feel it all the way around. People frustrated that all these people are coming over here.
Taking jobs, the hospitals, the schools – schools are having to be built and these people can’t even speak the language. So yes there’s a problem.”
Having his hair cut at a barbers across the street, Ashley Flash told us Britain should allow people fleeing conflict to come to Britain.
He said: “They’re only coming here because we’re thankful we’ve got electricity. I’ve got a barber who is cutting my hair. My mom and dad haven’t been shot or bombed. So if I was to live that life I would do exactly the same thing.”
Asked about other people’s concerns about the impact of migration, he said: “The multi-cultural demographic has changed and life moves on. If you don’t like it in Britain – leave.”