Afghan refugee waits 82 weeks in Home Office 'bridging hotel'

A freedom of information request reveals the average wait for housing is 331 days for Afghan refugees in Scotland.

Afghan refugee waits 82 weeks in Home Office ‘bridging hotel’, Scottish Liberal Democrats reveal iStock

An Afghan refugee has spent 82 weeks in a ‘bridging hotel’ awaiting permanent housing in Scotland, new data shows.

Figures obtained through freedom of information request by the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed one current refugee has waited 575 days in temporary accommodation.

The numbers, from the Home Office, show the average wait for permanent housing is 331 days, or 47 weeks, for Afghan refugees living in Scotland.

The temporary accommodation is known as the ‘bridging hotel’ and was procured by the Home Office to provide housing for refugees fleeing Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul to the Taliban in 2021.

The hotels are not intended to be permanent housing solutions.

Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, Alistair Carmichael, who is his party’s home affairs spokesman, urged the UK Government to scrap its Illegal Migration Bill – which seeks to deter refugees travelling to the UK through unsafe routes – and instead prioritise funding an adequate resettlement scheme.

The proposed legislation has come under intense scrutiny amid plans for individuals who come to the UK illegally to be removed to their own country or a safe third-party country such as Rwanda until an asylum claim is approved.

Carmichael, the MP for Orkney and Shetland, said: “The UK Government’s asylum policy is a masterclass in chaos.

“As if their Illegal Migration Bill wasn’t bad enough, these figures show that the Conservatives are leaving too many in a state of uncertainty.

“People need to know what comes next, so it’s entirely unreasonable to expect them to be living out of suitcases for any lengthy period of time, worried where and when the next roof will be.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Government immediately scrap the callous Illegal Migration Bill and focus instead on providing a properly funded refugee resettlement scheme.

“This will give people the confidence and certainty they need to build a new life far from home.”

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