People taken from Manston immigration holding centre have described their dismay at being deposited late at night in central London, without accommodation, appropriate clothing or money.
Amid growing controversy over the circumstances in which large numbers of people were bussed out of the acutely overcrowded camp, the Home Office has insisted that it only released asylum seekers who told staff that they had family or friends they could stay with.
But two people from Afghanistan told the Guardian that they were brought to London without having a clear idea of where they could stay. They describe scenes of rushed confusion as staff ushered them on to buses at the holding centre, before they were abandoned at Victoria railway station.
A young asylum seeker from Afghanistan was among the group of 11 people left on the street outside Victoria station on Tuesday evening. He said he had told Home Office staff during an interview before leaving the camp that he had no relatives or acquaintances in the UK.
“They asked me if I had any friends or family and I replied I had no one in England,” he said. Later he was asked by officials what city he would like to go to, and he said he would like to go to London, assuming that accommodation would be provided for him.
The young man, who asked not to be named, said he asked the bus driver where he should go as they arrived at Victoria station. “I thought there was going to be a hotel for us. He said: ‘Go anywhere you want to go, it’s not my responsibility.’ I told the driver I don’t have any address or any relatives. He said: ‘I can’t do anything for you.’”