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Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy

Volume 737: debated on Monday 11 September 2023

10. What steps his Department is taking to ensure that the Afghan relocations and assistance policy scheme is effective. (906303)

I said in May to the House that we aim to process all outstanding initial ARAP applications by the end of August. I can report that we have just 2,000 complex cases remaining from more than 93,000 principal applications that we received. We have issued over 58,000 decisions to applicants in the past three months, giving them the clarity they deserve, and we continue to move at best pace to process the remaining applications.

I thank my right hon. Friend and his ministerial colleagues for the work done over the summer, including with Hillingdon and Harrow councils in my constituency, on support for those who have served in support of our armed forces. In future, as Afghan bridging operations come to a close, can he commit to work with local authorities to ensure that those who have put their lives on the line supporting our military operations continue to be supported in their new lives here in the UK?

What liaising does the Minister do with the Home Office? I have an Afghan special forces interpreter who came here having done valiant work during Operation Pitting. His mother, father and siblings left Afghanistan and ended up in Ukraine of all places, and they moved to the UK last year. The Home Office gave them temporary leave to remain, only for them to receive a letter in the past couple of months saying that they would have to be deported back to either Afghanistan, Ukraine or Rwanda. In that case I interceded and the Minister’s office helped, but what is going on between his Department and the Home Office?

From the question, I can see all sorts of ways in which that might present quite a confusing case to colleagues in the Home Office, especially if those in Ukraine proceeded to the UK under a mechanism other than the Afghan relocations and assistance policy. May I look at the detail of the case and come back to the right hon. Gentleman, rather than speculate?