Afghan refugees wait almost a year on average for permanent housing in Scotland, with one spending 82 weeks in a so-called “bridging hotel”.

The data, revealed in a Freedom of Information request, showed the average wait is 331 days, or 47 weeks.

But one Afghan refugee has spent 575 days in temporary accommodation since arriving in the country after the fall of Kabul in 2021.

The figures were obtained by the Scottish Liberal Democrats. Alistair Carmichael MP, the party's home affairs spokesman, urged the UK government to scrap its Illegal Migration Bill – which seeks to deter refugees travelling to Britain through unsafe routes – and instead prioritise funding for an adequate resettlement scheme.

The proposed legislation has come under intense scrutiny amid plans for people who come to the UK illegally to be removed to their own country or a safe third-party country, such as Rwanda, until an asylum claim is approved.

Mr Carmichael, who represents Orkney and Shetland, called the government's asylum policy a “masterclass in chaos”.

“As if their Illegal Migration Bill wasn't bad enough, these figures show that the Conservatives are leaving too many in a state of uncertainty.

“People need to know what comes next, so it's entirely unreasonable to expect them to be living out of suitcases for any lengthy period of time, worried where and when the next roof will be.

“Scottish Liberal Democrats are demanding that the government immediately scrap the callous Illegal Migration Bill and focus instead on providing a properly funded refugee resettlement scheme.

“This will give people the confidence and certainty they need to build a new life far from home.”

The Home Office has said the hotels are not intended to be permanent solutions to housing.

On Monday, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak will appear at an event in Kent in southern England to draw attention to progress over the last six months, including a 50 per cent increase on raids of those working illegally and 700 new staff to track people crossing the English Channel in small boats.

Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick said the government will use barges and army bases to house people seeking asylum and tell young men four will have to share one room.

The measures are aimed at making Britain a less attractive destination to people arriving through informal routes.

Ministers are concerned that a record 606,000 more people moved to Britain than departed last year despite a promise to reduce immigration.

“We also can’t allow the UK to be perceived to be a soft touch,” Mr Jenrick said on the BBC's Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg programme. “It’s placing serious pressure on public services and our ability to successfully integrate people into the country.”

2023-06-05T10:15:50Z dg43tfdfdgfd