An Afghan refugee has spent 82 weeks in a ‘bridging hotel’ as they await permanent housing in Scotland, figures have revealed.
Freedom of information data revealed by the Scottish Liberal Democrats showed the longest a current refugee has waited is 575 days in temporary accommodation.
Meanwhile, the Home Office figures show the average wait for permanent housing is 331 days, or 47 weeks, for Afghan refugees in Scotland.
The temporary accommodation is known as a ‘bridging hotel’ procured by the Home Office to house refugees from Afghanistan following the fall of Kabul in 2021.
The Home Office states the hotels are not intended to be permanent solutions to housing.
Scottish Liberal Democrat MP, Alistair Carmichael, who is his party’s home affairs spokesman, urged the UK Government to scrap its Illegal Migration Bill – which seeks to deter refugees travelling to the UK through unsafe routes – and instead prioritise funding an adequate resettlement scheme.
The proposed legislation has come under intense scrutiny amid plans for individuals who come to the UK illegally to be removed to their own country or a safe third-party country like Rwanda until an asylum claim is approved.
Mr Carmichael, the MP for Orkney and Shetland, said: “The UK Government’s asylum policy is a masterclass in chaos.
“As if their Illegal Migration Bill wasn’t bad enough, these figures show that the Conservatives are leaving too many in a state of uncertainty.
“People need to know what comes next, so it’s entirely unreasonable to expect them to be living out of suitcases for any lengthy period of time, worried where and when the next roof will be.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats are demanding that the Government immediately scrap the callous Illegal Migration Bill and focus instead on providing a properly funded refugee resettlement scheme.
“This will give people the confidence and certainty they need to build a new life far from home.”
The Home Office said more than 9,000 Afghans have been supported into homes, with around 8,000 remaining in hotels.
A spokesperson said: “Hotels are not, and were never designed to be, suitable long-term accommodation for Afghans resettled in the UK. That is why we have announced a plan, backed by £285 million of new funding, to speed up the resettlement of Afghans into long-term homes.
“Where available, the Government will continue to make offers of suitable housing, which we strongly encourage Afghan families to accept. Where an offer cannot be made or is rejected, increased Government support is available to help Afghans find their own homes and begin rebuilding their lives here.”