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Iraq: Resettlement

Volume 468: debated on Thursday 6 December 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 November 2007, Official Report, columns 39-40W, on Iraq: resettlement, how many locally employed staff in Iraq have been made redundant or have had to resign from their job because of what the Government assesses to be exceptional circumstances who had (a) attained and (b) not attained 12 months or more continuous service in each year since March 2003. (166730)

The Government have employed many thousands of local staff in Iraq since 2003, many for short periods of time. Before the introduction of the policy set out in my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's written ministerial statements of 9 October 2007, Official Report, columns 27-28WS and 30 October 2007, Official Report, columns 30-33WS, information on redundancies and resignations was not held centrally, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Under the new policy, serving staff who are made redundant, or resign due to what we judge to be exceptional circumstances, can apply for assistance as set out in my right hon. Friend the Foreign Secretary's written ministerial statements of 9 and 30 October 2007, provided that they meet the eligibility criteria. Serving staff are defined as those who were in our employ on or after 8 August 2007, and comprehensive records on redundancies and resignations are therefore held from that date. Since then, two locally engaged staff have resigned due to what we judged to be exceptional circumstances. Both had completed more than twelve months service. 33 have been made redundant.

Former staff do not need to have been made redundant or resigned in exceptional circumstances in order to qualify for assistance, provided that they meet the other eligibility criteria.