Speaking for Ourselves

A broken system in need of change

A broken system in need of change


 Migrant Voice - A broken system in need of change

Migrant Voice releases its comprehensive report into the treatment of asylum seekers in Home Office hotels.

"No rest. No security" - Report into the experiences of asylum seekers in hotels

The multitude of ways in which the asylum system systematically dehumanises those in it, and creates an atmosphere of cruelty leaving them in limbo, have been identified in our report through comprehensive interviews, surveys and focus groups.

As one asylum seeker told us: "Recognise that we are human beings. We are good people"

Poor care leading to miscarriages, lack of edible food, rat and mouse infested accommodation, lack of clothing leaving some in their underwear for days on end, threats of deportation to Rwanda by staff in hotels, the litany of failures goes on and on.

While there were differences between the ten hotels housing asylum seekers we looked at, one thing was consistent across the people we interviewed and surveyed is the sense of dehumanisation caused by the system in general. People were left months without contact from the Home Office. Abandoned in limbo with no updates about what will happen to them next.

Through the voices of those directly affected, a unique picture has emerged of what it is really like to live in Home Office-requisitioned hotels, and potentially in other forms of contingency accommodation such as former military camps.

At a time when this government is looking to make it harder for people to seek asylum, and expand the use of contingency accommodation, it has never been so important to show the reality of what asylum seekers are facing and the lack of concern for their welfare being shown.

Overcrowding and unsanitary conditions were rampant, with some asylum seekers reporting twenty-four people having to share one toilet and another of having to share one shower with people from two floors. In some cases people were placed ten to a room, and one asylum seeker was left for a year in a windowless room measuring only 2 metres by 2 metres. 

“Not having privacy in the room and very bad quality of food and not having enough money even for bus and tube tickets ... I got depressed,” a survey respondent said about their situation.

Our report recommendations include:

  • Investment needs to be made into providing suitable accommodation within communities.
  • People must be provided with privacy, and the ability to live their lives in dignity.
  • People living in hotels for long periods should have access to use of kettles,. microwaves and fridges, or access to cooking facilities.
  • Hotel staff, or staff in other types of accommodation, must be instructed to treat residents with respect and dignity and should receive trauma-informed training.

“I want a decent humane life, work and live in peace only,” said another asylum seeker we spoke to.

Get in touch

Migrant Voice
VAI, 200a Pentonville Road,
N1 9JP

Phone: +44 (0) 207 832 5824
Email: [email protected]

Registered Charity
Number: 1142963 (England and Wales); SC050970 (Scotland)

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