A group of families evacuated from Afghanistan will challenge the Home Office’s mismanagement of ‘Operation Warm Welcome’ – the scheme set up to support their settlement and integration to UK society – in the Administrative Court in London on 17 and 18 January.

In October 2022 the families were moved out of London where they had lived for almost a year into an airport hotel in a northern city. The unexpected move has resulted in the loss of job offers, training opportunities, school places and the support networks they had built with other families.

The group includes a former soldier who fought alongside British and American forces against the Taliban, and teenage girls who had been welcomed into a school and were engaging positively with their education outside of Afghanistan.

Daniel Rourke, a Public Law Project solicitor for one of the families said:

“As things stand, these families are at risk of repeated changes in temporary accommodation. Each move disrupts their attempts to hold down work, continue education, and integrate into the UK. There is no good reason why they should be relocated in circumstances where they will inevitably be moved again.

“When they have tried to arrange their own accommodation in co-ordination with the Home Office, they have been stonewalled, yet if they do so without Home Office approval, they have been told they will lose a support package in place to help their integration and independence.

“A shocking part of the Home Office’s legal argument is that the Home Secretary does not owe a duty to safeguard and promote the welfare of the children involved. These families were recognised as most in need of help to escape the Taliban. They include people to whom the UK Government has stated it owes a huge debt. They are being treated appallingly.

“What the families need is protection from being moved like this again and an opportunity to find accommodation that they will one day be able to call home. For all that they have been through, and for the sacrifices and risks taken for our country, they deserve better.”

One of the individuals represented by Public Law Project said:

“The move in September uprooted my children from the life we had started in this country and left them feeling deprived of their education. It felt like a deportation or a second migration for us, after we had started to feel like we had a home again.

“In our current situation, it feels like all of the good deeds and dangerous work I carried out in support of British forces in Afghanistan has been forgotten.”

Families in this case are represented by Shelter, Deighton Pierce Glynn, and the Public Law Project. Counsel are Raza Halim, Tessa Buchanan, Alex Schymyck, and Ollie Persey of Garden Court and Martin Westgate KC of Doughty Street Chambers.

Media coverage of the case