Afghan evacuees brought to the UK after the fall of Kabul have been told the government will not find everyone somewhere to live.
A Home Office A letter, seen by Sky News, has been sent telling them that most of the 8,000 people still in hotels will have to find their own accommodation.
The Government has been frustrated that some evacuees have turned down offers of housing – those who have said they don’t want to move to an area they don’t know or that the housing supply isn’t big enough for their needs. families
It is not clear how many offers were actually made.
Sharareh Sarwari, 19, who was a journalist Afghanistan and came to the UK in October last year on a resettlement plan, she told us she feels abandoned.
She said: “I feel like a homeless woman because I’m young and I came alone. It’s hard for me and I can’t find a job. They don’t have a plan for Afghan refugees.”
The letter applies to those still living in hotels who were airlifted out of Kabul in August 2021 or have since been moved to the UK.
Unlike asylum seekers, Afghan evacuees can work and the government says the time has come to move on and fully integrate into British society.
The letter reads: “If you receive an allocated property, we recommend that you accept it. If you decline, no further allocations of established accommodation will be made and you will need to find your own accommodation.
“Most people are unlikely to receive an allocation through the new process, and we encourage you to find your own accommodation where possible.”
The letter goes on to advise people to check property websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla and says Home Office help will be offered to guide them.
We spoke to a number of evacuees relocated to Hertfordshire who said they had not received any offers of accommodation so far and were struggling to rent a property due to a lack of credit history.
Waheed Manan was flown out of Afghanistan with his wife and three children in the summer of 2021.
The 44-year-old was an electrical engineer in Afghanistan, an adviser to an Afghan minister and now works part-time in a shop. She said her children are finally settling into school after the trauma of the Taliban takeover.
Waheed said he wants to move on because living in a hotel without a permanent address makes it difficult to secure another job. But he claims he’s seen 25 properties and none have been accepted.
He said: “We can’t find a suitable property to rent. We live in this area and know the area. The children have gone to school and made friends.”
Mohammed Jomegol, 45, has been working in the UK as a taxi driver since 2015.
He said he was living between the UK and Afghanistan when the Taliban regained control and was evacuated back to Britain. He has held a British passport since 2007.
Mohammed brought his wife and four children with him, but insists that he must remain living in a hotel.
He said: “If the British government doesn’t support us, how am I going to support myself?
“I’m looking every day but it’s hard. My income is not enough.”
After leaving ‘bridging’ accommodation in the UK, Afghan evacuees have the same access to benefits and social housing as British citizens.
The Home Office says that “hotels are not, and were never designed to be, suitable long-term accommodation for Afghans resettled in the UK” and that more than 9,000 Afghans have now been supported in homes.
But of the 8,000 Afghan evacuees still in hotels, about half are children and about half have been living in a hotel for more than a year.
The Home Office says there are dedicated staff to provide guidance to Afghan evacuees on how to rent.
A Home Office spokesman said: “We have announced a plan, backed by £285m of new funding, to speed up the resettlement of Afghans into long-term homes.”
“When available, the government will continue to make offers of suitable housing, which we strongly encourage Afghan families to accept. Where an offer cannot be made or is rejected, more government support is available to help Afghans find their own houses and start rebuilding them. live here.”