August 15th will mark one year since the capital of Afghanistan, Kabul, was captured by the Taliban. At the time, the UK Government promised help and support for Afghans who worked with and supported UK Services personnel, and their families.
Constituents in Newport East have been in touch regarding problems with relocation. Many have reported family members still living in bridging hotels after many months, with families sometimes separated – located in bridging hotels often miles apart, causing huge emotional distress on already-settled relatives.
Last month, I wrote to the Secretary of State for the Home Department to ask:
How many people have arrived in the UK under the (a) Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Scheme and (b) Afghan Resettlement Scheme as of 17 May; and how many people are currently in bridging hotels.
The reply I received from Kevin Foster is as follows:
The UK Government undertook the biggest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history. Over 15,000 people were supported to come to the UK directly following the evacuation of Afghanistan, and a further 3,000 have since arrived.
Due to the scale and pace of the evacuation we have had to use hotels as a temporary measure. There are currently over 12,000 individuals from Afghanistan in bridging hotels. This cohort is made up of British and Afghan Nationals who may be eligible for Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS).
We do not want to keep people in temporary accommodation for any longer than is necessary. We have moved – or are in the process of moving – over 6,000 people into homes since June 2021. There is a huge effort underway to support the families into permanent homes so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels are given the best start to their life in the UK.
To have 12,000 people, who have come here to seek refuge, languishing in bridging hotels is truly staggering. The emotional impact is immense – these families and individuals are not able to move on and to start again while they are stranded in these hotels, and the financial cost must be eye-watering. It’s simply not good enough.
This is yet another example of incompetence from this Conservative government.
I will keep pushing to see this situation resolved and, as always, if you are a constituent with ongoing immigration or resettlement issues, please get in touch and if I can help, I will. Find all of my contact details here.