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Factsheet: Linton-on-Ouse Asylum Accommodation

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The unprecedented and unacceptable rise in dangerous small boat crossings continues to put huge pressure on the UK’s broken asylum system.

The sharp increase in crossings means about 37,000 destitute migrants are currently being accommodated in hotels – costing the taxpayer, when including those on resettlement schemes in hotels, £4.7 million a day.

This severe pressure on the system means claims from genuine asylum seekers are taking too long to process and is taking away from resources to support people through safe and legal routes to the UK.

The New Plan for Immigration will fix this broken asylum system, allowing us to support those in genuine need while preventing abuse of the system and deterring illegal entry to the UK.

What happens to migrants once they arrive in the UK via small boat?

  • Small boat crossings are dangerous, unnecessary and put lives at risk. There have been appalling and preventable tragedies in the Channel which must stop.
  • The New Plan for Immigration will deter illegal entry to the UK, break the business model of people smugglers and protect the lives of those they endanger.
  • From 14 April 2022, the Ministry of Defence took the lead in operations in the Channel which allows Border Force to use their surveillance expertise and to continue collaboration with their French counterparts to prevent crossings.
  • Migrants are intercepted by vessels chartered for the purpose and brought to facilities in Dover to begin processing their asylum claims.
  • Full screening of people’s identity, security checks, initial asylum screening and processing is undertaken at the Western Jet Foil in Dover and Manston, Kent.
  • Migrants are then securely moved to suitable accommodation locations as quickly as possible.

Asylum reception centres - more cost-effective accommodation for asylum seekers

  • The introduction of new asylum reception centres to provide basic accommodation and process claims will help to end the government’s use of hotels to accommodate migrants who have entered the UK illegally.
  • New sites will provide safe, suitable and more cost-effective accommodation for asylum seekers.
  • New accommodation will reduce the costly use of hotels for asylum seekers while putting the New Plan for Immigration into action to help speed up the processing of asylum claims.
  • We are also phasing out the unsustainable use of hotels by the introduction of a new and fairer asylum dispersal accommodation system.

What is Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • Linton-on-Ouse is located in North Yorkshire.
  • The Home Office, supported by the Ministry of Defence, is working on proposals which could transform the current site at RAF Linton into suitable accommodation for asylum seekers in response to the increasing pressures on the UK asylum system.
  • We are working closely with stakeholders, including local authorities and our contractors, to ensure that any accommodation which could be provided for those seeking asylum is suitable.
  • By designing the site to be as self-sufficient as possible, the proposals would minimise the impact on local communities and services.

Who will be accommodated in the new asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • The proposal currently for the asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse would only be used for destitute single adult male asylum seekers who have their asylum applications under review with the Home Office.
  • There are no proposals currently to accommodate families with children at the site.

Why Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • The site is set in the countryside in North Yorkshire, with space for anyone located there to spend time in the grounds.
  • The site would create new jobs and bring new investment into the area, following the draw-down of the RAF facility.
  • The proposal being looked at is for new accommodation at Linton-on-Ouse to provide full-board accommodation for residents and on-site recreation, a shop, faith and worship and medical services would be available.
  • By designing the site to be as self-sufficient as possible we would minimise the impact on local communities and services.
  • When off-site services are required, transport services would be available.

How long will asylum seekers be accommodated at Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • As proposals for the site develop, we are assessing how long asylum seekers should be accommodated there.
  • Proposals include the possibility for those housed at Linton-on-Ouse to be moved depending on the continued suitability of the individual to be onsite or on the conclusion of their asylum application.

How many asylum seekers will be housed at Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • The Home Office would work with our future service provider to ensure the site is operationally viable and minimises any impact on the wider community.

What about local people living near Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • By designing the site to be as self-sufficient as possible, we would minimise the impact on local communities and services.
  • Proposals include providing onsite recreational and cultural activities to occupy residents.
  • As proposals develop, we continue to work closely with local political leaders and their officials and other local partners to manage any impact on the local area.
  • Similar Home Office sites make significant contributions to the local economy and have offered employment opportunities in the broader community.

Are people able to come and go as they please?

  • Those living at the site would be free to come and go but would be expected to be on site overnight.
  • If a resident were not back on site by 11pm the team would make a courtesy call to the individual to ensure they are alright and do not need assistance. This would not be under curfew conditions; it would be based on following up on the safety and welfare of the individual.
  • Proposals include providing onsite recreational and cultural activities to occupy residents.

Will people who come here through safe routes be accommodated at Linton-on-Ouse?

  • People who travel to the UK through safe and legal routes will not be accommodated at asylum reception centres.

How much is this going to cost the UK taxpayer? 

  • The use of contingency accommodation for asylum seekers (including Afghan refugees), such as hotels, is costing the taxpayer £4.7 million a day (this includes costs for all asylum seekers and those relocated under Op Pitting).
  • Plans to develop asylum reception centres will ensure suitable and cost-effective accommodation is provided for people seeking asylum.

Is Linton-on-Ouse suitable for accommodating people? 

  • We have a legal obligation to provide destitute asylum seekers with accommodation.
  • We are committed to securing the welfare of asylum seekers who would otherwise be destitute and keep our processes under constant review.
  • The proposals currently under investigation for Linton-on-Ouse are to provide safe, secure and fit for purpose accommodation.
  • Onsite facilities at Linton-on-Ouse would be designed to ensure the essential needs of those accommodated there are met.
  • There will be robust processes in place to assess and manage the requirements of anyone who would be accommodated at the site.
  • We will work with the service provider and local transport companies to ensure anyone housed at Linton-on-Ouse would be able to obtain all their essential needs onsite.

Will vulnerable people be housed at Linton-on-Ouse? 

  • We would carefully assess every individual’s suitability to reside at Linton-on-Ouse, using a robust screening process to ensure that Linton would only accommodate single adult males who are considered suitable to reside there.
  • Each person’s suitability would be assessed at regular intervals.
  • There are proposals for medical services to be onsite at Linton-on-Ouse.
  • All asylum seekers in the UK may contact Migrant Help 24 hours a day, 365 days a year if they need help, advice, or guidance, that includes raising issues relating to safeguarding.

Who is running Linton-on-Ouse?

  • Proposals currently being looked at are for Linton-on-Ouse to be operated on behalf of the Home Office by an existing asylum accommodation provider.
  • Further information will be shared as proposals for the site develop.

Has a final decision been made on the asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse?

  • We are listening to community feedback as we continue to work on proposals to use the site at Linton-on-Ouse as an asylum reception centre which would be as self-sufficient as possible.
  • We maintain the site is urgently needed to provide essential asylum accommodation and would assist as we end the use of asylum seekers using hotels, which is costing the taxpayer almost £5million a day.

When will the site at Linton-on-Ouse open?

  • Further information will be shared as proposals are developed.
  • It would be our intention to use a phased approach to developing Linton-on-Ouse, gradually increasing the number of asylum seekers accommodated at the site as time goes on.

Updated on 7th June, 2022


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