This week the UK Border Agency announced that they have awarded the new contracts for providing housing for asylum seekers across the UK to large security companies Serco, G4S, and Clearel. These contracts, for both initial accommodation and temporary accommodation while people wait for their asylum claims to be processed, will begin in April 2012.
Donna Covey, Chief Executive of the Refugee Council said:
“We have consistently raised concerns in the past about the poor standard of accommodation provided for many asylum seekers, and the situation has the potential to deteriorate further with very large super regional contracts. We will be working closely with all the contractors and UKBA, and monitoring feedback from our clients following the changes, to ensure that their living conditions are not only adequate, but also safe and comfortable.
“Many asylum seekers have been through hugely traumatic circumstances in their home country and on their journey to the UK, and arrive here with nothing. It is unacceptable to house asylum seekers in sub-standard, unsecured and overcrowded conditions for cost-cutting purposes while they seek safety here and wait for a decision on their claim.”
The Refugee Council provides advice and practical support for asylum seekers applying for UKBA accommodation while their asylum claims are being processed. This includes support for asylum seekers while they are staying in initial acccommodation, before being housed in temporary accommodation in regions across the UK.