Since the fall of Kabul over one year ago to the Taliban, Britain’s Afghan refugees are still struggling to form new lives. Most have still not settled into permanent homes and have been repeatedly moved from hotel to hotel by the Home Office.
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Shoaib, a former journalist and researcher in Afghanistan, had been settled in Hatton by Hilton hotel, in Luton, for nearly 11 months. The Home Office then made the decision to move Shoaib across London to a second hotel in Crawley.
“When we [were] evacuated by great British troops… In fact, we are [thankful for the] British government that they saved our life and evacuated us from Afghanistan to [the] UK. We never knew that, or we never expected that we will stay in a hotel for almost one year,” he told Al Arabiya.
According to Reuters, more than half of the 20,000 Afghans who have arrived in Britain in the last year are still in temporary accommodation, unable to put down roots and rebuild their lives.
Shoaib came to Britain on an evacuation flight from Kabul. His family fled Afghanistan to Turkey, in hopes of re-joining Shoaib in the UK. Due to failures made by the Home Office to provide suitable forms, Shoaib and his family have been separated for a year. Not having his family and a place of permanency has made it difficult for Shoaib to integrate into British society.
“Life is not easy in the UK,” he said. “We should work very hard to fit with society. But again, it’s much better than Afghanistan now, which is under the control of the terrorist [Taliban] group. Homeland is a homeland. You have a lot of memories in your homeland.”
It remains both unclear when Shoaib will receive his permanent address or when the Home Office will allow his family to re-join him in Britain.
“I really miss my family, my children, my mother and my wife. And they are also missing me,” he said.
The government said earlier this year it was costing $1.47 million a day to accommodate the Afghans in hotels, Reuters reported.
Refugee support groups have reportedly urged the government to set up a Homes for Afghans scheme allowing businesses, civic groups, faith groups, military charities and others to sponsor Afghans with offers of accommodation.