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Operation Pitting Evacuees

Volume 712: debated on Monday 25 April 2022

We continue to support those who were evacuated under Operation Pitting—the UK’s largest evacuation operation in some decades—in particular with the search for permanent accommodation, based on working with local councils to identify that.

Operation Pitting has evacuated some 15,000 Afghanis. Altogether, refugees and asylum seekers are costing the UK a surprising £4.7 million a day in hotel accommodation, of which £1.2 million is spent on Afghan refugees, but hotels are clearly not the best option for education and schooling of children. We would like to have those refugees in the north of Scotland and the highlands, and they would like to come to the highlands. Will the Minister meet me to discuss how we can expedite that?

I am delighted to hear that housing is available in the highlands to support these people. We would be keen for them to make their new home in the highlands, which is a fantastic part of our United Kingdom. I would be delighted to meet the hon. Member to discuss how we can get those families on the way to a permanent home in a welcoming community.

Operation Pitting was a remarkable success in evacuating Afghans, but also remarkable is the number of Afghan women seeking refuge who have been left behind and are now on the Taliban hit list. I have been trying to chase updates on a number of Afghan women but have been unable to get any response from the Home Office. It has been made clear to those women that the Taliban will kill them unless they can escape Afghanistan. Will the Minister meet me to try to help me to progress their cases?

I am very happy to meet my hon. Friend to discuss those women’s cases. Of course, through the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme we are working with groups such as the UNHCR to identify those who would be particularly affected by Taliban rule.