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Up to 12,000 Afghan refugees out of 15,000 are still in hotels, waiting for permanent home


Up to 12,000 of the 15,000 Afghan refugees evacuated to the UK after the Taliban seized power remain in hotels waiting for permanent home.

  • The government is unable to give a date for the transition from “temporary” residency.
  • More than 300 local authorities have pledged to support the source of housing
  • Operation Pitting saw the UK relocate over 15,000 Afghan refugees to safety










Parliament has reported that as many as 12,000 Afghan refugees out of the 15,000 who were evacuated to the UK after the Taliban seized power are still staying in hotels waiting for permanent residence.

After lobbying Westminster, the government was unable to set a target date for moving people from temporary “bridge” accommodations, amid concerns that doing so was hampering their ability to access services, including education, and rebuild their lives.

But the Home Secretary, Baroness Williams of Trafford, told the House of Lords that work was continuing with more than 300 local authorities who had pledged to support the source of housing.

Parliament was told that as many as 12,000 Afghan refugees out of the 15,000 who were evacuated to the UK after the Taliban seized power are still staying in hotels waiting for permanent residence.

The complicating factor, she said, was that some families were “too large” and thus finding suitable housing was “more difficult”.

Operation Pitting has seen the UK airlift to safety over 15,000 people who are believed to be at grave risk from the Taliban due to their role in assisting British forces during the 20-year campaign in Afghanistan.

In response to a question in the upper room, Ms Williams told colleagues: “Government efforts to ensure that people from Afghanistan are brought into the UK as quickly as possible mean it has not always been possible to arrange support for local authorities in advance of arrival.

In these cases, we have placed temporary accommodation in hotels. There are approximately 12,000 Afghans living in 80 bridge hotels.

“This number changes regularly as people move to and from hotels.”

Former Conservative Cabinet minister Lord Young of Cockham, who has raised the issue, said: “After the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan, the government deserves credit for evacuating around 15,000 people to safety in the UK, and then launching what it described as ‘one of the most generous schemes’. In the history of our country “to resettle Afghan nationals.

While many are already rebuilding their lives, many as we’ve heard are still stuck in hotels where their children can’t get to schools, struggle to get GP services and are unable to work due to visa issues.

“So can the minister set a target date for moving into permanent housing the judges, doctors, members of parliament and other brave men and women who worked with us in Afghanistan?”

After lobbying Westminster, the government has been unable to set a target date for moving people out of their accommodation

After lobbying Westminster, the government was unable to set a target date for moving people from temporary “bridge” accommodations

While she was unable to set a date, Ms Williams said: ‘However, we are continuing to work with local authorities to obtain suitable accommodation as soon as possible for families who have been evacuated to the UK.

“We are very grateful to the 323 local authorities that have pledged support.”

When asked how many people have settled into permanent homes, Lord Rosser, Chairman of the Labor Party, added: “For there is no shortage of local authorities willing to provide support.”

Ms Williams said: “We’ve brought 15,000 people here, and 12,000 in temporary hotels.

In terms of no shortage of offerings, there’s a bit more complication to that because some families are actually quite large, so getting accommodations suitable for larger families is probably more of a challenge than it might be.

“But we are working very hard and across the government to provide people with permanent accommodation.”

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