RECRUITMENT is underway for staff to work at the Linton-on-Ouse asylum seeker centre - despite reports the project has been put “on hold”.

Thirsk and Malton MP Kevin Hollinrake says it is “not clear” what is happening with the centre that is scheduled to house 1,500 single males and “it’s all confusing”.

Mr Hollinrake says that as well as the recruitment, “facilities are also being moved onto the site”.

The MP told the Press some 300-400 staff are expected at the site, depending on the number of asylum seekers.

The asylum seekers had been expected to arrive by May 31, but “now we are told a decision won’t be made until sometime in July”.

And if the government went ahead with the centre “we would be given seven days notice”.

The MP’s comments come after North Yorkshire Police, Fire and Crime Commissioner Zoe Metcalfe said that the migration minister Kevin Foster had written to her to say the Home Office “will not accommodate asylum seekers at Linton-on-Ouse until it is safe and confirms to legal requirements".

“Only once that is all in place will they make a formal decision on whether to use the site for asylum accommodation,” she also posted on social media on Wednesday.

However, major government contractor Serco has begun seeking staff for the site, saying it is building up a staff team progressively, taking some from other sites.

Eventually, the contractor aims to have around 100 people at the base, including security, catering, welfare and support teams. It also seeks a full-time ‘activity co-ordinator’, paying £27,500 a year.

Part of that job advertisement said: “The operations team is at the heart of the contract success providing a large asylum centre on behalf of UKVI (UK Visas and Immigration) at RAF Linton. The department will be responsible for the onsite support, provision of service and safeguarding of our vulnerable service users.”

Serco will be providing full catering with three meals a day, a range of sports activities, including a gym, football, squash, cricket, etc; a shop, arrangements for religious observance, visits, cleaning and hygiene services, welfare provision, wellbeing and resettlement, plus facilitation and supervision of official, legal and case related interviews, visits and hearings.

The Home Office says the centre will provide safe and secure accommodation for “destitute single adult male asylum seekers who have their applications under review with the Home Office".

“Linton-on-Ouse is being designed to be as self-sufficient as possible, minimising any impact on local communities, services, and the need to leave the site.”

The Home Office says its scheme will help fix the "broken" asylum system, which costs UK taxpayers £1.5bn a year. It will allow it to “support those in genuine need while preventing abuse of the system and deterring illegal entry into the UK".

A Home Office spokesperson told the Press: “As we continue to work on the plan for the asylum reception centre at Linton-on-Ouse, which will be as self-sufficient as possible, we continue to listen to community feedback.

"We maintain the site is urgently needed to provide essential asylum accommodation and will assist as we end the use of asylum seekers using hotels, which are costing the taxpayer almost £5 million a day.”

A Home Office ‘fact sheet’ on the scheme can be found at