Following the announcement in the House of Commons today, with regards to the Afghan resettlement and immigration policy statement, details of which you can read here, Enver Solomon, CEO of the Refugee Council, said:
“Refugee resettlement schemes provide lifesaving support to people in desperate need of protection. The swift announcement in August of a scheme to support those at risk of persecution in Afghanistan was a welcome first step by this government. Today’s commitment to bolster this scheme with £20m, as well as provide indefinite leave to remain to more Afghan nationals is also to be welcomed, and we look forward to supporting some of those who come to Britain to start new lives here.
“However, these schemes alone won’t be enough to provide protection to Afghans who arrive in the UK. Through no fault of their own, many Afghans will have no choice but to embark on dangerous journeys to find safety. To support these people, this government must immediately expand eligibility for family reunion, a vital safe route, so enabling more family members of refugees in the UK to find safety here. We also call on the government to fast track the decisions for the more than 3,000 Afghans currently in the asylum system still waiting for news of their fate. Returning anyone to Afghanistan right now would be unthinkable, so we once again call on the Home Office to immediately suspend all returns to that country.
“The warm welcome this government wants to provide to Afghans on the new schemes is in stark contrast to proposals set out in its new borders bill which will cruelly slam our door in the face of those who had to take dangerous journeys overland to get to the UK. We urge the government to give all refugees a warm welcome and a chance of a fair hearing on British soil.”