Asylum Accommodation

A home should be a place of stability, but it is too often a source of anguish for people seeking protection and works against them having a fair chance in their asylum claim.

Graham O'Neill Policy Officer

Before Christmas this year, the UK Government will sign contracts for asylum accommodation for the next 10 years and which are worth £4 billion in public funds. These contracts are currently held by private companies such as Serco which plans to evict vulnerable asylum seekers from their homes in Glasgow. And it is very likely that these contracts will once again go to private.

Thank you to everyone who got in touch with their MPs over the last few months and asked them to speak up at this critical point and call for crucial changes to these contracts. We will be keeping a close eye on the issue and will give updates as soon as we know the outcome of the contracts.

CLICK HERE to watch our Policy Officer Graham O'Neill explain more about asylum accommodation contracts. 

Continuing Concern

Scottish Refugee Council alongside other key stakeholders believe that these new contracts have not addressed the well-documented and persistent issues witnessed under the current contracts. People seeking refugee protection need safe and secure accommodation so that they can begin to rebuild their lives and recover from their trauma. We believe that accommodation for asylum seekers should meet the same decent standards that we'd expect for anyone else in society. 

The Home Affairs Committee in the UK Parliament, which published a comprehensive inquiry report into asylum accommodation in 2017, remains very concerned about the Home Office’s plans for the new 10 year contracts. Recently it wrote to the Home Secretary demanding urgent clarity and answers on the future of asylum accommodation and the wider asylum dispersal system. The Chief Inspector also published his report on the Home Office’s management of asylum accommodation provision.

Want to know more?

In partnership with Asylum Matters we have created a briefing for MPs which you can also read here.

What changes do we want to see?

The re-design of the contracts presents the opportunity to ensure the long term sustainability of the asylum dispersal system by:

  • making sure local councils and communities are properly funded to help people to integrate;
  • giving devolved Governments and Local Authorities the ability to make decisions on how dispersal is carried out in their areas;
  • ending the damaging practice of forced bedroom sharing and making sure that accommodation meets the needs of all asylum seekers;

Towns and cities up and down the country are proud to be places of welcome to those seeking safety from persecution. Yet lack of local oversight over asylum accommodation and the absence of resourcing to meet local needs risk generating resentment, undermining community cohesion and marginalising the Local Authorities and communities upon which the dispersal system relies. Some have publicly threatened to pull out of dispersal. Meanwhile, many others in Scotland, England and Wales have appealed to the Home Secretary and Minister for Immigration to intervene.


Related stories:

READ:Asylum Seekers to be Locked Out of Homes (2018)

READ: Next decade of asylum housing hangs in the balance (2017)

READ: Asylum report highlights widespread housing problems  (2014)