12,000 Afghan refugees stuck in UK hotels – reports
The British government is struggling to find permanent homes for the refugees, who were evacuated in the summer
Some 12,000 Afghan refugees will start 2022 in a hotel in the UK, despite having arrived months ago during the evacuation of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan, as the British government reportedly struggles to find homes for them.
The Guardian reported on Tuesday that the government was struggling to persuade local councils to find permanent homes for the thousands of Afghan refugees who relocated to Britain following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan. The group launched a military offensive during the summer and took Kabul on August 15.
Sources within the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) and Home Office told the paper that more than 12,000 Afghan evacuees remained in the so-called ‘bridging accommodation’ as of December 22.
According to the DWP, of the 16,500 people airlifted from Afghanistan to Britain since August, “over 4,000 individuals have either moved into a settled home or are in the process of being moved or matched to a suitable home.”
The government has struggled to find permanent or suitable homes for refugees, meaning they remain in hotel accommodation at the taxpayer’s expense.
According to a Home Office spokesperson, more than 300 local authorities have come forward to offer permanent homes, but the scale of the offering has not met demand.
Officials representing councils in London told the Guardian that many of the hotels being used were unsuitable for long-term stays, especially for children.
Some 7,500 people had been relocated to the UK under the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (ARAP) as of December 7. The plan offered sanctuary and asylum to Afghans who faced danger due to their affiliation with Britain and its two-decade-long operations in Afghanistan.
Around 15,000 people were brought to the UK during Operation Pitting in August. A further 1,500 have been airlifted to Britain in the following months.
Many Afghans have reached British shores by their own means and have claimed asylum.