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Many Members of Parliament are receiving correspondence from constituents asking about the use of hotels and former military barracks to accommodate people seeking asylum.

It is not typical for asylum seekers to be accommodated in hotels. They are a kind of contingency accommodation that may be used by the Home Office’s asylum accommodation providers when there is a good reason to do so. The number of people seeking asylum being temporarily accommodated in hotels has risen since September 2019. This has been due to issues with the accommodation provider contracts and, more recently, because of measures to limit the risk of spreading Covid-19.

Since September 2020 two former military barracks in Folkestone and Pembrokeshire have been used to accommodate some single male asylum seekers. In total, they provide space for around 600 people. They are intended to be used as a temporary measure, to alleviate pressure across the asylum accommodation estate and reduce the need for hotel spaces.

This short briefing is intended to help Members and their staff respond to common questions on this topic. It provides some background information about the policy on the use of hotels and military barracks as asylum accommodation, the reasons why there has been an increase in the use of hotels, the available data on how many people seeking asylum are being accommodated in this way, and some of the concerns raised by people seeking asylum and other stakeholders about the appropriateness of these forms of accommodation.

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