Asylum seekers set to be moved out of hotels as court rules Rwanda plan 'unlawful'

  • Video report by ITV News reporter Barnaby Papadopulos

Over two hundred asylum seekers are set to be moved out of two Carlisle hotels in the new year, the city's MP has confirmed.

John Stevenson said it was the right move for the city, adding that he never believed asylum seekers should have been housed in hotels in the first place.

"I always felt that hotels were the inappropriate use of accommodation for asylum seekers and I also think it disrupted individual communities," he told ITV News.

"I don't think it was fair to the community or to the immigrants themselves but that you two hotels in Carlisle have been used for that purpose.

"But now the Government has announced that they will be closing in the new year and I think that is the correct policy, and those hotels will return to their proper use."

But for asylum seekers themselves, the proposal means more uncertainty. They haven't yet been told where they'll be moved to - it could be anywhere in the north west.

Nader Khani, from Iran, said: "A letter came that we have to leave the hotel, but we don't know where to go.

"We don't know what will happen in the future."

It comes as the UK government's controversial plan to deport some asylum seekers to Rwanda was deemed 'unlawful' by the Supreme Court.

Moved with 'only seven days notice'

For Laura Cooper, who works with the organisation Multicultural Cumbria, plans to move asylum seekers uproots those who are beginning to integrate into a new community.

She pointed to how asylum seekers were getting involved in volunteering and fundraising, as well as organising sporting and cultural activities for themselves.

"They're missing their families," she said.

"They're waiting to hear whether their claim will be accepted, and there's the uncertainty of where they will be moved to, often with only seven days notice, without knowing where in the north west that they will be moved.

"It adds to the stress, which then adds to the uncertainty, and a lot of these people are suffering from depression and anxiety from the whole situation."

Yousef Yousefi, also from Iran, said he "really didn't know what is going to happen."

"The conditions are not very good and life as a refugee is very difficult," he said.

In a statement a Home Office spokesperson told ITV News:

“The Home Office continues to provide safe accommodation for asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute, as we work to end the use of hotels which are costing UK taxpayers £8.2million a day.

 “Accommodation is allocated on a no-choice basis and individuals may be moved to other locations in line with the Allocation of Accommodation guidance."

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To know...