The Duke of Cambridge has reportedly said he felt frustrated by British efforts to evacuate men, women and children fleeing the Taliban. He is also said to have expressed concern about the length of time it has taken to find permanent accommodation for people moving to the UK.
The comments were reportedly made during a private conversation in December with a group of refugees the prince met at a hotel where they were being temporarily accommodated.
A refugee the Duke is believed to have spoken to during the visit told The Times: “He said he was frustrated with the withdrawal efforts in August. He said he wished we could bring more people to the UK.
Another reportedly said: “He asked us, ‘Why is it taking so long to get into permanent homes?’ “
Kensington Palace declined to comment on the report.
It is believed that up to 12,000 refugees are still being hosted in temporary accommodation across the UK, 4,000 of whom are believed to be children.
Home Secretary Priti Patel faces increasing pressure to address delays in their search for permanent accommodation.
However, Victoria Atkins, the Afghan resettlement minister, suggested this weekend that some advice had not done enough.
She said: “More local authorities must come forward and do their part in the national effort to help those who seek to rebuild their lives here.
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A government spokesperson said: “We have helped more than 15,000 people take shelter in Afghanistan and are proud to have provided housing for over 4,000 Afghans evacuated, with more than 300 local authorities pledging their support so far.
“We will continue to work in partnership with local authorities and the private rental sector to secure permanent housing for Afghan families, rightly taking the appropriate time and effort to find families suitable and secure housing. long-term.
“The UK is playing a leading role in the international response to support Afghan citizens at risk. “
The spokesperson added that Afghanistan’s resettlement and assistance policy had so far ensured the safety of more than 7,000 people in the UK.
A resettlement program for Afghan citizens is soon opening, giving 20,000 people at risk a new life in the UK.
It aims to reinstall them in three years – 5,000 in its first year of operation.
In 2020, the countries with the most Afghan refugees and asylum seekers were Pakistan (1,448,100); Iran (780,000) and Germany (181,097), according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
There are no figures on how resettled Afghan refugees will be distributed across the UK.
However, a program to aid refugees who fled conflict in Syria has seen more than 3,000 settle in Scotland, more than 2,000 in Yorkshire and the Humber and 2,000 in the south-east of England. , according to the University of Oxford Migration Observatory.