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About 4,000 Afghan children still living in hotels in UK after Taliban takeover

Refugees fly out of Kabul on an RAF plane (LPhot Ben Shread/MoD/PA)
Refugees fly out of Kabul on an RAF plane (LPhot Ben Shread/MoD/PA)

More than 9,000 Afghan refugees are living in hotels 15 months after the Taliban takeover of their homeland and half of them are children, figures show.

The Home Office said 9,242 Afghans were in temporary accommodation, as of November 4, living in 63 hotels and “around half” were children.

This suggests there are at least 4,000 children and that there is an average of about 147 people staying in each hotel.

There are also 7,572 people who have moved into a private home, with 779 who have been found a place to live and are waiting to move in.

This does not include families who have made their own accommodation arrangements.

Some 217 people have also refused offers of accommodation, the latest report said.

This is because some have been offered jobs or have ties to other areas but some have been “concerned about moving to an unfamiliar area, that they perceive to be remote or with limited access to services/amenities and job opportunities”.

The Home Office said: “We are working hard to identify and address the concerns which are impacting on the willingness of families to move to properties allocated to them – and we’re providing them with information about the property they’ve been offered, and the area, to reassure them.”

The Government pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees, with as many as 5,000 in the first year under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Kabul in August last year.

The figures show that overall 22,833 people have arrived in the UK, including British nationals, their families and Afghans who worked for the UK.

Indefinite leave to remain has been granted to 12,296 people, 6,314 of whom are under the ACRS scheme. There are 5,982 under the existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) which was set up to bring current or former locally employed staff who were assessed to be under serious threat to life to the UK.

Afghans are now the second highest nationality of migrants crossing the Channel to the UK.

Some 4,781 made the journey between January and September compared to 1,437 during the whole of 2021, separate Home Office figures show.

It is not known whether any of them have applied for either of the Afghan resettlement schemes.

Officials believe these are mostly Afghans who have been in Europe for some time, rather than travelling directly from their homeland after fleeing the Taliban takeover.