Petition Stop housing asylum seekers who entered the UK illegally in hotels
We want the Government to cease housing asylum seekers who entered the UK illegally in hotels in towns like Skegness seaside town. Asylum seekers who entered the UK illegally should be housed in alternative accommodation, like vacant army bases or detention facilities.
This response was given on 21 February 2023
The Government has been clear that using hotels to accommodate asylum seekers is not a long-term solution and is working tirelessly to reduce our dependency upon hotels to house asylum seekers.
The United Kingdom has a proud history of welcoming and supporting those in need of protection. Since 2015, we have offered a place to over 440,000 men, women and children seeking safety – including those from Hong Kong, Syria, Afghanistan and Ukraine, as well as family members of refugees.
Under the Immigration & Asylum Act 1999, the Home Office has a statutory obligation to provide asylum seekers, who would otherwise be destitute, with accommodation and support whilst their claim is under consideration.
We are currently supporting a record number of asylum seekers due to the unprecedented number of individuals crossing the Channel in small boats and claiming asylum. Eligible asylum seekers are ordinarily placed in housing accommodation; however, our asylum system is under incredible pressure and that has forced the Home Office to consider alternative accommodation options to ensure that we meet our statutory obligations.
We are working tirelessly to reduce our dependency upon hotels to house asylum seekers by:
• Accelerating asylum decision making
The Home Office has already increased the number of its asylum decision makers from 597 in 2019/20 to more than 1,000 today. We intend to increase that number to 2,500 by the end of the year. We are streamlining and modernising the end-to-end process, with simplified guidance, more focused interviews and enhanced use of digital technology. Quicker decision making will result in people moving on from asylum accommodation into permanent accommodation or removed from the UK at a faster rate.
• Increasing the volume of dispersal accommodation
On 13 April 2022, the former Minister for Safe and Legal Migration announced that we would move to a full dispersal model for procurement of asylum accommodation, allowing the Home Office to procure dispersal properties within the private rental sector in all Local Authority areas across England, Scotland and Wales. This will mean a more equitable burden across the UK, rather than having to rely on contingency hotels in a minority of Local Authorities. This will reduce the length of time asylum seekers are in contingency accommodation, thus reducing costs. This Asylum Dispersal Grant will support Local Authorities through payments of £250 per asylum seeker in Home Office-supported asylum seeker accommodation as of 27 March 2022. The payment is to address concerns raised by Local Authorities in relation to pressure on local services associated with supporting asylum seekers.
• Increasing asylum accommodation capacity in the short-term
A wider programme of projects has been set up to deliver a significant increase in the numbers of asylum accommodation beds in non-hotel accommodation. These projects include, but are not restricted to, the potential use of disused holiday camps, surplus and unused government sites, commercial land, and modular builds.
The enduring solution to this challenge is to break the business model of the people smugglers so that we can support those most in need whilst deterring those intent on entering the UK illegally. To this end, the Home Secretary has signed a cooperation agreement with French law enforcement to hinder small boat crossings, and we are implementing the Nationality and Borders Act provisions to reform the asylum system to make it fair but robust.
Furthermore, on 13 December 2022, the Prime Minister announced a package of measures to tackle illegal migration, including:
• combining our military, our civilian capabilities, and the National Crime Agency to co-ordinate the latest technology and intelligence to identify and then prosecute more gang-led boat pilots;
• a new agreement with the Albanian government, which clarifies that Albania is a safe country, and a new approach to processing Albanian nationals arriving in small boats in order to increase significantly the number of returns;
• strengthening our relationship with France and other European partners. British and French officers are embedded in respective operations in Dover and Northern France, and we have re-established the Calais Group of Northern European nations to ensure we are disrupting traffickers along the entire migration route;
• implementing our Migration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda to break the business model of the people smuggling gangs, following the conclusion of the current legal proceedings;
• introducing new legislation to make unambiguously clear that those who enter the UK illegally should not be able to remain here.
At 100,000 signatures...
At 100,000 signatures, this petition will be considered for debate in Parliament