Military data collectors to help Interior Ministry settle Afghan refugees | Immigration and asylum


The military has been called in to collect data on thousands of Afghan refugees currently living in hotels, as the Interior Ministry struggles to put together the correct details.

The soldiers visit more than 80 hotels which are still used as “transitional accommodation” to house more than 7,000 Afghans who were evacuated to the UK in August.

The refugees live in temporary accommodation while the Interior Ministry finds them permanent accommodation. Concerns have been expressed over the lack of essential items and support due to the lack of accurate information on many Afghan nationals and their children who were evacuated to the UK in August.

As a result, the Interior Ministry requested military assistance from the civilian authorities (Maca) to help them improve data on families.

The military has been tasked with collecting data on how best to match individuals and families in fixed accommodation.

This includes collecting information about their level of English and where their individual needs would result in the most successful integration, such as finding local connections Afghans may have in the UK.

Interior Ministry officials refused to guarantee that all Afghans would leave the hotel by Christmas.

Over 8,000 Afghan nationals were evacuated to the UK in August under the Afghan Resettlement and Assistance Policy (Arap).

The department has struggled to persuade local authorities to come forward to help, with the number of permanent accommodation offered by the councils so far being sufficient to house around half of those evacuated to the UK under the scheme Arap.

A report from the Refugee Council, which works with many who have fled Afghanistan, warned last month that many Afghans staying in hotels did not have access to essentials such as sanctuary supplies, toothpaste, diapers or drugs.

In addition to the 7,000 Afghans, there are around 13,000 asylum seekers who are also currently living in “relay hotels” due to the lack of available accommodation.

Of these, around 70 are unaccompanied children, 16 of whom are under 16.

Enver Solomon, Chief Executive Officer of the Refugee Council, said: “In the rush to evacuate people from Afghanistan, there appear to have been loopholes in capturing important information that reflects how the government had to. go at high speed during a chaotic time and the Home Office was functioning. without additional operational capacity.

“These families, including young children, have faced an incredible amount of trauma and upheaval in their lives. Their mental well-being is extremely precarious and it is essential that they receive support, advice and information.

A government spokesperson said: “The largest and fastest emergency evacuation in recent history has brought around 15,000 people to safety in the UK. A significant intergovernmental effort is underway to ensure that the thousands of Afghans who have been evacuated to the UK receive the support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, continue their education and integrate into their communities. local.

“It is totally incorrect to suggest that we don’t know how many people are in hotels. Military personnel help the Home Office gather information that will help the government to best match individuals and families in fixed accommodation and support their integration into the UK. “

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