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Migrants in the UK could be housed in ferries, ex-military bases, barges: Report

March 29, 2023 at 3:45 pm

Minister of State (Minister for Immigration) in the Home Office Robert Jenrick arrives in Downing Street to attend the weekly Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak in London, United Kingdom [Wiktor Szymanowicz – Anadolu Agency]

Migrants in the UK could be moved out of hotels into ferries, former military bases and barges, local media reported on Wednesday, Anadolu News Agency reports.

UK’s Immigration Minister, Robert Jenrick, is expected to unveil the government’s plan for housing asylum seekers today.

BBC reported that plans to use ferries and barges are under consideration, but added that they are not at an advanced stage.

UK’s Deputy Prime Minister, Dominic Raab, told Sky News that the government will consider putting migrants in barges, whose asylum claims are being processed.

He termed the hotels and the current accommodation of the migrants as an “incentive”, and said that the government needs to lower the 6 million pounds spent daily on their accommodation.

“I don’t think it would be illegal, it depends on the circumstances, the conditions,” Raab said.

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On Monday, the UK government announced that Afghan refugees housed in hotels would be evicted. Veterans Minister, Johnny Mercer, announced in the House of Commons that the refugees who were in “bridging hotels” would be told to move out.

He said that the government had plans to resettle the refugees, and move them into “settled accommodation”. A three-month notice would be given to the Afghan refugees as an offer of housing would only be made once.

Rights groups have expressed concerns after the announcement, saying that thousands of Afghans, who fled the country after the Taliban takeover in 2021, are at risk of being homeless.

“We are deeply concerned about many elements of these plans, in particular the risk that they could lead to people who fled the Taliban in Afghanistan being left homeless and destitute on the streets of Britain,”, Refugee Council, a UK-based NGO, said on Twitter.

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At the moment, around 8,000 people out of the 24,500, who left Afghanistan after the Taliban took control of the country, are currently staying at hotels. Half of them are children, according to media reports.

The organisation criticised the government and said that this is not how those who were promised a “warm welcome” in the UK should be treated.

“Hotels are not the right place for refugees to live, but the fact said that thousands of Afghans have been left in them for months on end is a consequence of government mismanagement and a failure to work successfully in partnership with local councils and other agencies to find suitable housing.”

It said that the government plan would cause “great misery and anxiety for those who have already experienced trauma and upheaval”.

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