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Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy

Volume 741: debated on Monday 20 November 2023

10. What steps he is taking to support Afghan citizens who are eligible for the Afghan relocations and assistance policy. (900157)

Some 13,000 eligible persons and their families are now in the UK under the ARAP scheme. We are determined to deliver on our commitments, with many hundreds more arrivals in the UK planned before the end of the year.

In the light of Pakistan’s brutal crackdown on undocumented and temporary visa-bearing Afghan refugees and its forcible deportation of those people back to Afghanistan, can the Minister confirm the security of those eligible for the Afghan citizens resettlement and ARAP schemes in Pakistan, including many whose claims have been unprocessed for two years? Can he expedite those claims to stop people being thrown back into the clutches of the Taliban?

May I gently encourage Members on both sides of the House to change their tone when describing the Government of Pakistan in relation to these matters? We would not have brought out thousands of people had it not been for the support of the Government of Pakistan, and we continue to enjoy their support and co-operation in our efforts to bring out many thousands more. As the hon. Lady well knows, because it has been well covered in the media, the Government of Pakistan have sought to accelerate the deportation of those whom they consider to be there illegally, but our excellent team in the high commission in Islamabad are working day and night with the Government of Pakistan to ensure that that does not happen to those who are in Pakistan under ARAP and ACRS. We are moving at our best pace to bring people back, with the full co-operation of the Government of Pakistan.