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Britons could be asked to house Afghans as thousands face hotel evictions

Chris x: is this a Monty Python show?

Britons could be asked to house Afghans as thousands face hotel evictions Immigration minister considering launch of Homes for Afghans scheme similar to that offered to Ukrainians.

Passengers evacuated from Afghanistan disembark from a British aircraft at RAF Brize Norton in southern England on 24 August. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images

Ministers are considering launching a “Homes for Afghans” scheme following a similar government-funded plan for Ukrainians.

As the government sought to fight off Conservative rebellions over the illegal migration bill, the immigration minister, Robert Jenrick, said it could ask members of the UK public to open their homes to people coming from Afghanistan under official routes.

It is understood that Jenrick, Michael Gove, the housing secretary, and the veterans minister, Johnny Mercer, have recently met to discuss how to house thousands of Afghans who are due to be evicted from hotels in August.

Theresa May and Iain Duncan Smith are understood to be planning to back Lords amendments to the illegal migration bill to stop the deportation of modern slavery victims. Other MPs are considering rebelling because the government’s amendments have not placed a statutory limit on the detention of children.

More than 124,000 people have arrived in the UK under the Homes for Ukraine scheme since Russia’s invasion in February last year.

Jenrick’s comments in the Commons followed an intervention from Debbie Abrahams, the Labour MP for Oldham East and Saddleworth, who said: “We have hundreds of civilians who would like to have a Homes for Afghans scheme. These people are waiting and have already volunteered.

“This is a scheme ready and is equivalent to the Homes for Ukraine. So I really would urge the government to take us up on this and make sure that these supposed safe routes are actual safe routes.”

The immigration minister replied: “The Homes for Ukraine scheme has been a superb one, which we should all be proud of. I took part in it myself at one point. If it’s possible to create a comparable scheme for Afghans, that’s something that we should consider and I know that the levelling up secretary [Gove], who has responsibility for that, is considering that.”

About 8,000 Afghan refugees allowed into the country in 2021 under the slogan Operation Warm Welcome are due to be evicted from hotels from as early as August because of a government deadline.

The government had promised to take in up to 20,000 people, including up to 5,000 in the first year, who had been forced to flee Afghanistan or faced threats of persecution from the Taliban.

The then prime minister, Boris Johnson, said at the time: “We will never forget the brave sacrifice made by Afghans who chose to work with us at great risk to themselves.”

The number of Afghans making it to the UK through official channels has been lower than anticipated. At the same time, the number of Afghan nationals arriving in the UK on small boats across the Channel rose to 8,633 last year, a sixfold increase on 2021.

In a debate on more than 20 amendments made to the bill by the Lords, the former prime minister May challenged Jenrick over his use of statistics.

Jenrick told the Commons: “The NRM [national referral mechanism] referral rate for people arriving in the UK on small boats and being detained for return has risen from 6% for detentions ending in 2019 to 73% in 2021.”

May said he should confirm that the average percentage of people coming on small boats and claiming modern slavery had not changed over the last three years and was about 7%, saying: “What he is talking about is people who are subsequently detained for removal.”

Jenrick said he was quoting the most relevant statistics.

May said the bill “ties the hands of the police and it undoes the good work of the Modern Slavery Act”, adding: “I know that ministers have said this bill will enable more perpetrators to be stopped, but on modern slavery I genuinely believe it will do the opposite.”

Jenrick faced questions from Conservative MPs about the treatment of unaccompanied children. The former minister Vicky Ford sought assurances that children would be placed in child-appropriate accommodation and those subject to age checks would have appropriate safeguarding, adding: “If that is the case, when will we see that in writing?”

Jenrick replied: “Any genuine child who comes into the United Kingdom will be swiftly taken into the local authority care system. To the extent that that child is in the detained estate, they will only be housed in age-appropriate accommodation.”


One Response to “Britons could be asked to house Afghans as thousands face hotel evictions”

  1. ian says:

    Let government employees have them in their houses. British people demonstrated en mass before the Iraq invasion, I was sent to Coventry at work for trying to wake people up during the TV driven hysteria during the build up to the Afghan invasion. The b4stards must get a buzz out of conning folk. The Afghan refugees I feel sorry for, but the plan I don’t. Kalergi, or what. Rant over. Great post Chris.