Government ‘failing Afghans’ as solely 233 folks come to UK on flagship resettlement scheme

The authorities has been accused of failing weak Afghans as figures present simply 233 have been resettled within the UK this yr beneath the flagship scheme.

The newest statistics come because it was confirmed Afghans had been the commonest nationality to reach by Channel crossings within the first half of 2023.

At least 1,474 Afghan nationals arrived in small boats from January to June, Home Office figures launched on Thursday confirmed.

Afghans fleeing the Taliban have been pressured to make the perilous journey throughout the Channel as a result of they can’t entry the official routes, which have been criticised for being too slim.

The Independent has revealed how Afghans who served alongside British troops have been threatened with deportation to Rwanda as soon as they attain UK shores.

Military chiefs and politicians have known as on Rishi Sunak to “get a plan” to relocate the tons of of Afghans who’re eligible for resettlement within the UK and who’re at present caught in Pakistan.

New figures present that solely 66 folks have ever been resettled beneath pathway two of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (Acrs), which was designed to assist at-risk Afghans discover sanctuary within the UK. Some 41 folks have come beneath the third pathway, which helps, amongst others, Afghan academics who labored with the British Council.

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) UK mentioned that the small numbers revealed the “government’s failure to provide protection for vulnerable Afghans”.

IRC UK govt director Laura Kyrke-Smith mentioned: “In pushing forward the Illegal Migration Act, the government time and time again assured concerned parliamentarians and the British public that there existed ‘safe routes’ for refugees from countries like Afghanistan. These statistics show that these routes simply aren’t matching the scale of need.”

She known as on the federal government to increase the Acrs scheme “to honour the original pledge of 20,000 places”.

Afghans had been the second most typical nationality making use of for asylum within the yr to June 2023, with 9,964 purposes, nearly double the quantity within the earlier 12 months (5,154).

After the Taliban takeover in August 2021, the British army airlifted hundreds of individuals from the nation to security within the UK and arrange two schemes to assist others left behind. But each the Acrs and the MoD’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) have confronted criticism from campaigners and charities for being too gradual and restricted.

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Pathway one of many Acrs scheme, which centered on those that arrived within the UK beneath the evacuation programme or who had been unable to board flights on the time of the large-scale evacuation, has seen 126 folks resettled within the yr to June.

The Arap scheme, which was launched in April 2021 for individuals who labored for or with the UK authorities in Afghanistan, noticed 2,336 folks resettled within the UK within the 12 months to June this yr.

The authorities pledged to resettle greater than 5,000 folks within the first yr of Acrs, and as much as 20,000 over the approaching years.

In the 2 years between July 2021 and June this yr, a complete of 9,778 folks had been resettled beneath Acrs – though greater than 9,000 had been resettled earlier than the scheme had formally opened in January 2022.

There had been 6,575 Afghans in inns or serviced lodging by the top of June, half of whom had been kids, the federal government mentioned.

Afghans got a deadline to go away inns by the top of August, with Cabinet Office minister Johnny Mercer recognising earlier this month that the announcement had been “a controversial move” however insisted it was executed “with compassion in mind” to get folks into everlasting lodging.

Councils have expressed considerations that a lot of these evicted from inns may find yourself presenting as homeless, subsequently needing short-term lodging.

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