A group of Afghan refugees brought to London after the Taliban took power are taking the government to court because a subsequent move north meant their children had to leave a local school during their GCSE studies.
Four families were moved from a London hotel to one in northern England.
A lack of school places near their new temporary home has since set back the teenagers’ education, the families say.
The Home Office said it was trying to find permanent homes for Afghan ‘s.
The Afghans’ lawyers say the Home Office is required, under the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act, to “safeguard and promote the welfare of children” when it makes any immigration decision.
But court papers suggest the Home Office will argue a decision to move Afghan refugees between two “bridging” hotels in the United Kingdom is not an immigration decision.
The Afghan families’ solicitor, Daniel Rourke, from the Public Law Project, said he was hopeful his clients would win the case and be allowed to return to south London.
“They were promised a warm welcome and it is quite chilling to now hear the home secretary argue in court that she owes no duty to have any regard to the best interests of the children that are affected by this important decision to uproot them and move them hundreds of miles to live in an airport temporarily,” Mr Rourke said.
A Home Office spokesman said: “The UK (United Kingdom) is proud to have already provided homes for nearly 7,400 Afghan evacuees, through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. While hotels do not provide a long-term solution, they do offer adequate space and secure and clean accommodation.
“We will continue to bring down the number of people in bridging hotels, moving people into more sustainable accommodation.