PRIVATE landlords with empty homes are being asked to come forward to help house asylum seekers.

Earlier this year it was revealed that more than 450 homes were lying empty across Oxford – now councillors are calling on landlords to help house refugees, particularly those fleeing the ongoing crisis in Afghanistan.

Councillor's claim that while the situation in Afghanistan has ‘fallen away from the headlines’ there is much more that people, and the multiple councils across the county, can do to help those seeking asylum.

On Monday, during Oxford City Council’s meeting, a motion tabled by Northfield Brook councillor, Hosnieh Djafari Marbini, called on the Council Leader to write to the Home Secretary to withdraw the Nationality and Borders Bill.

The new bill, which is currently at the committee stage, aims to make has the ‘system fairer and more effective’ and deter illegal entry into the UK.

The bill has been criticised by the UN’s UK refugee chief, who said the new bill could result in Afghan people who manage to escape the Taliban being criminalised.

Councillors in Oxford voted unanimously for Dr Mabini’s motion, which included calling on the Home Secretary to create safe pathways for undocumented Afghans to obtain refugee status.

Mark Goldring, who is director of the volunteer group Asylum Welcome, praised the motion: “The proposed new legislation is both inhumane and likely to be ineffective.

“It would keep out many of the people in fear of persecution and need of protection who Oxford has welcomed as refugees over many years.

“It is right that Oxford speaks against it, and we call on people to write to their MPs to make this clear.”

Speaking to the Oxford Mail, Dr Marbini said: “The people of Afghanistan have been subject to decades of violence over multiple generations, and many are fearful of what the future now holds under the Taliban including our Afghan neighbours here in Oxfordshire who are fearing for their loved ones.

“From personal experience I know it’s impossible to start a new life without a home. The temporary accommodation the Afghan refugees are currently in do does not allow those seeking sanctuary to start rebuilding a dignified life by getting children to school or being in a place to start to look for employment.”

The councillor added it would be 'brilliant' to see more landlords come forward to offer up empty properties.

Since the council first called on private homeowners to offer their services, 22 landlords have approached the city council.