Call for evidence on use of hotels as asylum accommodation

The investigation follows several deaths of asylum seekers in Glasgow last year.

Call for evidence on use of hotels as asylum accommodation Getty Images
Emergency services rushed to the Park Inn hotel in Glasgow on June 26 where six people were stabbed.

The UK’s independent overseer of asylum policy has called for evidence as part of an inspection into the use of hotels as contingency asylum accommodation.

The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI) has invited anyone with knowledge and experience of the Home Office’s use of hotels to contact them.

The inspection will examine the use of hotels and other forms of contingency accommodation, including two former military barracks in Wales and England, since the beginning of 2020.

In Glasgow, the company responsible for housing asylum seekers had been using hotels since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Charities and MPs previously raised concerns over living conditions in city centre hotels, where asylum seekers were moved when lockdown was imposed.

In May, a 30-year-old Syrian man, Adnan Walid Elbi is believed to have taken his own life after he was found dead in MacLays Guest House.

In June, Badreddin Abedlla Adam was shot dead by police after six people were stabbed during a major incident at the Park Inn hotel.

More than 300 asylum seekers were moved out of their accommodation and into city centre hotels by Mears Group, when the coronavirus outbreak began.

The investigation will focus on the roles and responsibilities of the Home Office and the accommodation service providers, and of other parties, in relation to the use of contingency asylum accommodation.

Since the end of last year, ICIBI has been speaking to and receiving evidence from a number of stakeholders, including residents of both Penally Camp in Pembrokeshire and Napier Barracks in Kent.

ITV reported a suspected Covid-19 outbreak at Napier Barracks has escalated after 120 people were thought to have contracted the virus.

Around 400 people live at the Folkestone facility, where coronavirus has added to worries over conditions.

The Home Office, which commandeered the site last year, insists the accommodation is “safe, suitable, (and) Covid-compliant”.

Visit here to submit evidence to the ICIBI inspection.