From hotels to military bases, ferries and prisons… Britain plans to transport asylum seekers during the summer

The British government intends to implement its new plan to accommodate asylum seekers in military bases and abandoned ferries instead of hotels this summer, as part of its policy to clamp down on refugees and reduce the costs of accommodating them.

British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announced the allocation of 3 ferries, two military bases and a former prison (all abandoned) to house about 3,700 asylum seekers in different parts of the country, according to the British newspaper, The Independent.

On the fifth of last April, the government announced its intention to transfer 500 refugees to live on board a 93-meter-long floating barge in the sea. The floating barge consists of 3 floors, and it contains 222 single bedrooms with ensuite bathrooms and a kitchen, and it contains some entertainment rooms, such as television, a gym, and a lounge. games.

The government intends to put double beds in these narrow rooms, to double the number of refugees residing in them, according to the announcement of the Ministry of Interior.

According to British newspapers, the cost of renting a barge amounts to 15,000 pounds (19,000 dollars) per day, while its mooring fees in the port of Portland Dorset are 4,500 pounds per day, meaning that the cost of a refugee as a daily residence on average is 39 pounds sterling, in addition to some expenses. Additional daily security and restaurant services.

The government proposed using the British Royal Air Force military base in Lincolnshire to house thousands of refugees, as a less expensive alternative to hotels that cost the government about 6 million pounds a day to secure accommodation for the 51,000 refugees whose files are now being considered.

According to the Ministry of the Interior’s website, asylum seekers are supposed to receive a decision on their claims within 6 months, but a report by the Refugee Council in 2021 found that the average initial decision takes between one and three years.

For its part, the Independent Aid Committee ICAI says that, according to its research, the average cost per person per night in a hotel is £120, compared to £18 for staying in long-term homes and apartments that have a more stable character. to refugee families.

The British police suggested that they would need hundreds of thousands of pounds to guard each ferry or military site designated to house refugees, and to deal with the expected protests by right-wing anti-refugee groups.

In addition to the funding that the government will allocate to the police, a huge contract worth 1.6 billion pounds sterling has been agreed upon with an Australian company to manage travel services in order to prepare ferries to accommodate asylum seekers.

The number of dwellings of this type increased during the Corona epidemic, from 2,577 in March 2020 to 37,142 in September 2022, and refugees occupy more than 200 hotels.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs resorts to hotels as an emergency option, as there are not enough subsidized housing available to accommodate all these people, as asylum seekers spend weeks and months in hotels.

The phenomenon of violence against immigrants is spread by the far right, who attacked asylum hotels 253 times last year, as some pretended to be journalists in order to approach the hotels to abuse staff and residents.

The British government has previously announced a plan to deport asylum seekers to Rwanda at a cost of 120 million pounds sterling, which will be received by the Rwandan government, noting that it faced lawsuits filed by a number of asylum seekers.

It is noteworthy that as of September 2022, more than 72,000 asylum applications had been submitted in Britain, which is more than double the number of applications submitted in 2019.

Source : Al Jazeera + Sanad Agency + British press

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