The announcement of Government plans to move 8,000 Afghan evacuees out of bridging hotels within the next three months raises some serious concerns.

The additional support set out to help Afghans find their own accommodation within a three month window is likely to be too little, too late – particularly given the demands on and cost of the private rental sector.   

Families and individuals risk being made homeless if they do not move to the first location offered by Government.  

Families could be required to move to any location in the country, causing further disruption to their integration into life in the UK. Multiple moves between temporary accommodation has already severed vital support networks, disrupted education, and impacted training and employment opportunities that have been so hard come by.   

Many Afghans would have found their own private rental accommodation had it not been so difficult for them to do so

It is far from clear why offers of permanent accommodation could not have been made earlier before families started to lay down roots.   

The Government has not acknowledged that many Afghans would have found their own private rented accommodation had the so-called ‘warm welcome’ not put barriers in place making it absurdly difficult for them to do so.  

In order to move into a privately rented home, Afghan evacuees have had to secure approval from the Home Office, as well as from the local authority to which they wanted to locate. If the local authority agreed to accept the family – and not all authorities have been required to do so – then that authority was required to approve the family’s choice of home.   

Many Afghans are unable to provide a guarantor for their tenancy agreements: councils are unable to act as guarantors and the Home Office has not offered to do so

Families were warned that if they did not go through those required stages, they would lose access to a three year package of resettlement support which can include language classes, vocational training, help to access benefits, and permanent accommodation.     

Those with experience of the private rental market will know it is unrealistic to expect houses to stay on the market long enough for all those cumbersome and unnecessary steps to be completed.   

A further issue is that many Afghans are unable to provide a guarantor for their tenancy agreements. Councils are unable to act as guarantors and the Home Office has not offered to do so.  

This scheme has not worked well, and there is nothing to suggest that the new initiatives will improve it, including importantly removing the existing obstacles. For Afghan evacuees who have experienced considerable trauma in their home country, including many who made significant sacrifices to serve UK national interests, this new development does not look like the warm welcome that was promised.