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Migrants in the UK Facing a Housing Catastrophe

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By Hans Sok Appadu of OTS Solicitors

Many local authorities are refusing to house Asylum seekers in the UK, driving the system for housing migrants to the point of collapse, according to a special report on Radio Four’s Today programme on the 8th March 2016.

The crisis has become so bad that migrants are now being housed in hotels.

In 2012 three companies, Clearsprings, G4S and Serco won a contract to house Asylum seekers. The companies are charged with finding Asylum seekers suitable accommodation and then approach the local authorities for approval.

The problem is, according to senior managers of the companies, many local authorities do not want to house Asylum seekers, giving reasons such as the ‘area not being suitable’ and ‘not having the resources to cope’.

One of the managers told Radio 4 anonymously that very soon the system will break down as there are simply not enough homes to house the ever-increasing number of Asylum-seekers coming to the UK. He is also quoted as saying, “the Government is not taking this seriously. Most local authorities are now asking for a reduction in the number of Asylum seekers”.

£10 per Asylum Seeker per night

The companies say they only receive around £10 per Asylum seeker per night to accommodate them. Because there is not enough housing, migrants are being put up in hotels, causing enormous losses to the contractors. In Serco’s case, the shortfall was leaving them £115 million out of pocket.

Understandably, it is speculated that all three companies want out of the contract with the Home Office because they are losing money.

Dismal Record in Housing Migrants

However, the companies who hold the Government contracts to provide housing to Asylum seekers have been heavily criticised for the way they have handled the responsibility of housing often vulnerable and traumatised Asylum seekers.

Both Serco and G4S have faced scrutiny in the past after a government watchdog accused them of providing “squalid” and “rundown” housing to Asylum seekers.

In 2014, G4S were fined over £100 million following a Serious Fraud Office investigation into overcharging on public contracts.

Serco also has been accused of using murky financial statements to mask the true state of the economic state it is in.

Last week a report by the Home Affairs Select Committee stated that the housing situation is getting worse because some local authorities are housing 100s of Asylum-seekers and others are refusing to take any at all.

In a statement, the Home Office said it continues to work closely with local authorities to increase the number of houses available. It also stated it will not give Asylum to those convicted of serious offences.

OTS Solicitors are experts in the field of Immigration and Human Rights law. If you are an Asylum seeker struggling to find suitable accommodation for you and your family or need advice regarding other aspects of Immigration law, please call our office on 0207 936 9960 to make an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors.

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