Arooj Sha, Council Leader Published: Tuesday, 14th December 2021

Cllr Arooj Shah, Leader of Oldham Council, said: “We’ve been informed that asylum seekers have now arrived safely at a hotel in Oldham.

“Over the weekend, I joined our engagement teams to speak with residents in the area, and am very grateful for the patience and understanding of the local community at what will be a worrying and confusing time for our new arrivals.

“I know that Oldhamers will be kind and support these people, many of whom will not understand English and who may have had a very difficult experience before arriving here.

“Oldham has a proud history of welcoming people of all nationalities, and we are ready and willing to play our part in helping these vulnerable people who have been through so much. That said, we as a council do not have a choice in how many asylum seekers we accommodate here.

"When planning how and where to accommodate asylum seekers, hotels make a commercial decision in liaison with regional providers, which in the North West is Serco. Serco then produces a list of hotels for the Home Office, which then informs councils which hotels are to be used. The council is not part of the decision-making process for emergency asylum placements.

“As a council, we do not receive any funding for the asylum seekers we accommodate in the borough; although the local NHS does receive some funding to enable people to receive healthcare.

“We know Oldhamers will have questions about our new arrivals, and that’s why we knocked on more than 500 doors over the weekend to hear people’s queries and share the information we have. We also now have a list of FAQs on our website which explains how the system works.

“Meanwhile, we have been inundated with enquiries from people asking how they can help our new arrivals, particularly in the run up to Christmas. The best way to add your help and support is by making a donation through the Greater Manchester Migrant Destitution Fund, which is online here.”

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