KABUL – The new UK hotel rules have plunged thousands of Afghan asylum-seekers into an imminent homelessness crisis, as the Home Office moves forward with plans to evict them from their temporary accommodations. The government had previously announced that around 8,000 Afghans would be compelled to leave these establishments across the country by August.
Unfortunately, the removal of government financial support, combined with a scarcity of available housing, has created a dire situation where many of these vulnerable individuals could find themselves on the streets without any means of support. Recognizing the urgency of the matter, the Local Government Association has cautioned that the eviction timeframe for Afghan refugees from hotels is unreasonably short, posing significant challenges for local councils in finding suitable alternative housing options.
In May, councils were informed that they would receive £35 million in funding to prevent asylum-seekers from becoming homeless upon leaving hotels, and the government had allocated £250 million specifically for securing permanent homes for Afghan refugees transitioning out of temporary accommodations.
A spokesperson from the Home Office acknowledged that hotels were never intended to serve as long-term housing for Afghan individuals resettled in the UK. They emphasized the government’s commitment to offering suitable housing options and strongly encouraged Afghan families to accept these offers. In situations where suitable offers cannot be made or are declined, the government has pledged increased support to assist Afghans in finding their own homes and commencing the process of rebuilding their lives in the UK.
Unfortunately, a group of 250 Afghan families residing in hotels in West Sussex received a notice in May, warning them that failure to vacate their accommodations by the specified date would render them trespassers, subject to eviction by the Secretary of State for the Home Department.
Chairman Shaun Davies of the Local Government Association will address the association’s annual conference, stressing the proud history of councils stepping up to support asylum-seekers and refugees in settling and rebuilding their lives in the UK. However, the combined pressures stemming from government asylum and resettlement schemes have placed an increasingly burdensome strain on these councils. The situation has reached a critical point, prompting a call for collaboration with the government to find effective solutions that not only support those arriving in the UK but also alleviate the unsustainable pressures on local services and communities.
During the LGA annual meeting, discussions will also encompass funding for Ukrainian refugees in the UK, as well as the implications of the government’s Illegal Migration Bill. This legislation grants authorities the power to deport individuals who enter the UK illegally, disregarding their circumstances. Recently, the Court of Appeal ruled a significant part of this bill, which would have enabled the government to deport asylum-seekers to Rwanda to await application outcomes, as unlawful.