Accessing support in hostile times

A London Met research team launched a new report on Afghan Migrants in London.

Date: 4 October 2022

London Met's Professor Louise Ryan, Dr María López and their PhD student Alessia Dalceggio, launched their research report at a highly successful and well-attended event hosted by Islington Town Hall on 27 Sept.

This research, funded by a Transformation award from London Metropolitan University, was undertaken in partnership with two Afghan community organisations and with four Afghan peer researchers. 

The study aimed to understand the needs of diverse Afghan communities in London and in particular to explore the needs of recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers, included those evacuated from Kabul airport in August 2021. 

The launch was attended by delegates from several London local authorities including Islington, Lambeth and Hackney, as well several migrant organisations and the Home Office. Many of the research participants also attended the event and shared their experiences during the Q+A session. 

The event was opened by a welcome address by Kelly Cooper, Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Professions.  Louise and María presented the key findings of the research and their recommendations aimed at the Home Office, Foreign Office, Job Centres, local authorities, NGOs and other key stakeholders. The most pressing issue now is housing as many thousands of Afghans remain in temporary hotel accommodation in hotels.

The research found that many Afghans are being moved from central London hotels to cheaper hotels elsewhere in the country with significant disruption to work and study plans as well as to the schooling experiences of young children.  Uncertainty about housing is causing additional stress and insecurity for these Afghans and exacerbating the anxiety arising from their traumatic evacuation and ongoing separation from loved ones who remain behind in Afghanistan.

The panellists at the event were from Lambeth and Islington councils, who discussed their experiences of working with recently arrived Afghans and their strategies to re-house people within their boroughs. In addition, representatives from Paiwand and the Afghan Association of London, reflected on their work with the diverse Afghan communities and the enduring challenges faced by many people especially in the context of the ‘hostile environment’ to migration and the current fuel and cost of living crises.

The photograph shows, from the left: Alessia Dalceggio (PhD student), Anca Tudor (Islington Council), Farid Fazli (Afghan Association), Dr María López, Fahima Zaheen (Paiwand), Karim Shirin (Afghan Association), Prof Louise Ryan and Helena McGinty (Lambeth Council).

The launch event and preparation of the executive summary report were also supported by the work of two PhD students, Cinar Aydogan and Hosn Houssami.

The full research report can be read online.