The British Red Cross confirms that approximately 3,000 Afghan refugees are still believed to be waiting for a decision on whether or not they will be allowed to stay in the UK and it is felt that they should have their cases fast-tracked.
Following the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, the UK Government promised to give up to 20,000 together with thousands of Afghans who worked with the British military during the 20 year intervention, refuge over the coming years.
However, before Kabul fell to the militants last month there were still 3,213 asylum seekers from Afghanistan who had already arrived in the UK but still waiting for a decision on whether they will be officially granted refugee status and allowed to resettle. Almost three quarters of these people have been waiting for more than six months for any sort of decision.
Red Cross chief executive, Mike Adamson, said: “With more people coming to the UK to seek safety, we must be ready to provide support immediately. This starts with fast tracking the claims of more than 3,000 Afghan nationals who are already here, and have been waiting for months, if not years, for a decision. They should not be left to live in limbo, unable to work and struggling to live with very little support. It is the right thing to do for the UK to stand by its responsibilities in the world, and the public at large agrees”.
Ministers are under pressure to ensure that Afghans who arrive in Britain under one of the two new schemes, the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy for former interpreters and other employees of the UK Government, and the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme for civilians who have reason to fear for their lives at home, are offered suitable accommodation as quickly as possible, and offered access to employment and skills training.
Britain is trying to encourage other Western governments to set numerical targets as to how many refugees they will accept, in order to avoid a repeat of the chaos seen following the Syrian civil war.