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Iraq: Resettlement

Volume 472: debated on Monday 3 March 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate his Department has made of the number of Iraqi citizens formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence expected to apply for (a) the UK Gateway scheme and (b) indefinite leave to enter on an exceptional basis outside the Immigration Rules in 2008-09. (189895)

[holding answer 28 February 2008]: We estimate that there are approximately 400 former members of staff who are eligible for the LECs assistance scheme. Around half of those already assessed as eligible and who have informed us of their preferred form of assistance, have opted for the Gateway scheme.

Staff who left MOD’s employment prior to 8 August 2007 are not eligible for indefinite leave to enter the UK on an exceptional basis. Seven current staff members made redundant since 8 August 2007 have chosen this option.

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much financial support the Government paid to Iraqi citizens formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence awaiting resettlement under the UK Gateway programme in third countries in each month since October 2007; and how many Iraqi citizens formerly employed by the Ministry of Defence have received financial support whilst awaiting resettlement. (189896)

[holding answer 28 February 2008]: No financial assistance has yet been paid to former staff members seeking resettlement to the UK under the Gateway programme. The focus of our effort has been on assessing the eligibility of those applying to the scheme from within Iraq, and on undertaking the necessary security checks on those seeking resettlement. The first tranche of this work is now largely complete, and we expect that a significant number of former Ministry of Defence employees and their dependents (in excess of 100 individuals) will soon leave Iraq for a third country for assessment under the Gateway programme. Financial assistance will be paid to these individuals, as well as to any eligible former employees who have already left Iraq, in the coming weeks.

As of 21 February, the Ministry of Defence has paid over $450,000 to former staff members who opted for the financial package of assistance.