On the eve of its expansion from 15 to 25 countries, the European Union is
tightening up immigration policies for fear of an uncontrollable influx of
migrant workers. But with its aging and dwindling workforce, western
Europe needs more outsiders to fill available jobs, and the marketplace is
finding ways to do that, albeit not legally.
In the heart of Brussels, the Canal de Charleroi runs through blocks of
dismal factories and abandoned warehouses. It's still cold out, but that
doesn't deter the illegal immigrants who come here in search of work. With
hands in pockets and shoulders hunched, they wait for a car to pull over
and offer them a day's work. There are Ukrainians here, Russians and
Romanians. On one corner where the Africans gather a car pulls over and
the men flock around it. Did the driver offer anyone a job?