8,000 Afghan Refugees in UK to be Made Homeless as Govt Deadline for Eviction Expires in August: Report

Last Updated: June 11, 2023, 08:46 IST

London, United Kingdom (UK)

Demonstrators take part in a march calling for the British parliament to welcome refugees in the UK in central London. (Credits: AFP)

In the meeting, officials discussed ‘low-cost’ options to shift 50,000 asylum seekers living in hotels, which costs government 6 million pounds a day

The British government has warned last week that thousands of Afghan refugees in the UK are likely to face homelessness in August, a report has revealed.

The council officials in a secret meeting last Thursday have informed the Rishi Sunak government that 8,000 Afghan refugees allowed in the country in 2021 are due to be evicted from hotels in August because of a government deadline, The Guardian reported.

The emergency meeting comes as PM Rishi Sunak dropped a controversial plank of last year’s asylum law that had introduced a two-tier refugee system making lives tougher lakhs of people arriving in the UK using small boats.

The meeting was also attended by the Home Office civil servants and number of Home Office private contractors.

During the meeting, officials discussed “low-cost” options to shift 50,000 asylum seekers currently living in hotel accommodation, which costs 6 million pounds (Rs 62 Crores) a day.

However, it became “quickly evident” that councils would struggle to help because of an acute housing shortage, the report.

Meanwhile, the pressure on the government is expected to grow further with increasing number of small boat crossings as the weather conditions have improved.

The UK government is struggling to process the record numbers of asylum seekers arriving on its shores. More than 45,000 migrants arrived on the shores of southeast England on small boats last year, a 60 percent annual increase on a perilous route that has grown in popularity every year since 2018.

Sunak, whose office has reiterated that no refugees will be forced onto the street, said that the government had acquired two more barges to house about 1,000 people.

Meanwhile, the MPs and councillors have accused the ministers of wasting taxpayers’ money over converting unused facilities into refugees’ centres.

“The government is committed to ending the expensive use of hotels for asylum seekers which is why we continue to source new alternative sites and vessels, which are cheaper and more manageable for communities,” the Home Office said.

“The asylum system currently costs more than £3bn a year so taxpayers rightly expect the government to find alternative solutions,” it added.

The UK had welcomed around 24,500 Afghans under resettlement and relocation schemes introduced as the Taliban took over their country in 2021. Around 8,000 of those, half of them children, remain in temporary hotel accommodation.

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