Number of asylum seekers in UK hotels triples in a year, report finds

A total of 26,380 asylum seekers were 'languishing' in hotels in the UK in 2021, charity says

Migrants are taken in to Dover, Kent, from a small boat on the English Channel on July 8. PA
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The number of asylum seekers in hotels almost tripled in a year, a report claims.

By the end of 2021, there were 26,380 migrants living in this type of temporary accommodation, compared to 9,421 at the start of the year, Home Office data obtained by the Refugee Council showed.

More than 200 hotels were being used and about 10 per cent of those staying in them were children, responses to freedom of information requests revealed.

Nearly 3,000 people had been “trapped in unsuitable hotel accommodation” for more than six months and 378 had been there for a year, the charity said.

It warned some migrants were experiencing depression and feeling suicidal while “languishing” in hotels as they awaited a decision on their asylum claim.

The Refugee Council highlighted cases of people having “inadequate access to clothing, appropriate footwear and other basic essentials such as paracetamol, mobile phones and the internet”.

“The huge increase in the number of families and vulnerable children stuck between the four walls of a hotel room, from morning 'til night, is the brutal reality of a broken system," said the charity's chief executive, Enver Solomon, who called the situation deeply disappointing.

“Far from the glitzy hotels people may imagine, these are not places anyone would want to stay in for long periods. They are cramped and unsafe.

“Hotel stays are days, weeks, months, and in some cases a year, stuck in limbo, cut off from society, unable to find work with children often missing out of vital education.

“The impact of this on people who have already endured extreme suffering is huge, damaging their mental health, robbing children of their childhood and leaving people unable to progress with their lives in any meaningful way, or participate in the lives of their communities.

“The government must ensure swift decisions are made so that those who have protection needs can stay in this country as a refugee, and those who do not can be supported to safely return to the country from which they came.”

In February, it emerged that the government was spending £4.7 million ($5.6m) a day housing asylum seekers in hotels.

The Home Office has been contacted for comment.

Updated: July 21, 2022, 12:44 AM
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