The Home Office has unveiled a series of measures aimed at addressing the escalating costs associated with accommodating asylum seekers in hotels.
The 2022-2023 Annual Report highlights the need to alleviate the unsustainable pressure on the asylum system, which currently costs the taxpayer more than £3bn ($3.7bn) a year.
To tackle this issue, the Illegal Migration Act has been introduced to enable the detention and swift removal of those arriving in the UK illegally.
This legislative move aims to discourage illegal immigration, but it is acknowledged that there is no single solution to the problem.
New accommodation sites announced
In response to the mounting costs and concerns over safeguarding, the Minister for Immigration has outlined steps to rectify the current situation. The government has announced the establishment of the first tranche of sites designed to provide basic accommodation at scale.
These sites will be set up on military properties in Essex and Lincolnshire and will be expanded over the coming months. Together, they will offer accommodation to several thousand asylum seekers.
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Additionally, a barge will be utilised to house migrants at Portland Port, taking inspiration from successful similar projects in Scotland and the Netherlands.
Focus on dispersal and clearing legacy cases
To maximise available accommodation options and reduce reliance on hotels, a full dispersal plan was announced in April 2022.
Regional and national plans have been communicated to local authorities, accommodation providers and Strategic Migration Partnerships.
This includes increasing accommodation by 200 sites to meet projected demand, with preparations underway for areas experiencing a high intake of asylum seekers.
While legislative changes are being pursued to discourage illegal immigration, the government is actively working to provide more suitable accommodation and streamline the asylum process to alleviate pressure on the system.