Human Rights in Asylum Hotels

Despite the government’s promised to end the use of hotels, the Refugee Council found that ‘the hotel population of people seeking asylum almost tripled over the course of 2021, with a staggering 26,380 people being accommodated in hotels across the UK at the end of 2021.’

The Refugee Council have reported on the impact of prolonged hotel stays on child development, and the damage caused to people’s health and wellbeing, including depression and suicidal ideation. There has also been a rise in deaths in asylum accommodation over the last two years, as well as reports that children are knowingly being placed in hotel accommodation with adults.

In Oxford, too, the use of emergency hotel accommodation for people seeking asylum has skyrocketed over the past year. In Oxford, we support a number of recently opened ‘contingency’ hotels, which mainly accommodate asylum seekers recently arrived in the UK.

Shockingly, unaccompanied asylum seeking children continue to go missing from hotel accommodation. Since July 2021, 4600 unaccompanied children have been placed in hotels. 440 of them have gone missing and 200 have never been found.

It currently costs taxpayers around £5 million a day to accommodate over 37,000 asylum claimants and Afghan refugees in hotels. As a result, the government has also announced they will be using repurposed military facilities the accommodate asylum claimants as a cheaper alternative to hotel accommodation. Despite the concerns raised about the use of Napier Barracks as an accommodation facility, six further ex-military bases have been earmarked to accommodate 30,000 asylum claimants. These will be semi-closed facilities, with residents expected to be onsite overnight. They will feature daily ID check, external and internal CCTV, a controlled access point and security perimeter patrols.

We are concerned about the number of under-18s who we have encountered in adult accommodation. We call upon the Home Office to improve their child protection safeguards to ensure this does not continue.

We want to see separated children in safe accommodation where they’re protected from traffickers and other forms of exploitation. Asylum Welcome have signed the open letter to the government condemning the practice of detaining children in hotels.

Faced with the possibility of using repurposed military facilities for accommodating asylum seekers, often in inappropriate, isolated locations, we continue to support and endorse Asylum Matters’ #CommunitiesNotCamps campaign.

We urge the Home Office to work collaboratively with local authorities and refugee charities when standing up hotel accommodation to ensure that the basic needs of newly-arrived asylum seekers are met and that there are no unaccompanied children wrongly placed in adult accommodation. This communication is also important to reduce tensions between hotel residents and the local population.

  1. To raise your voice about the practice of detaining children in hotel accommodation, write to your MP using the Refugee Council’s template letter.