“We’ll take 25,000 refugees” – UK Prime Minister


Up to 25,000 Afghans in danger from the Taliban will be allowed to come to Britain in one of the most generous resettlement schemes in the country’s history.

UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, last night announced that up to 20,000 will be given the right to live here under a far-ranging new scheme with 5,000 expected in the first year.

An additional 5,000 will be allowed to move to the UK under an existing programme designed to protect Afghan translators and other workers who were employed by British authorities.

The new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will focus on women and girls who fear their rights will be trampled under the ‘Islamic Emirate’ declared by the Taliban.

It will also offer help to those forced to flee their homes and to religious minorities in the country. They will be given the right to stay in the UK permanently.

A previous scheme for Syrian refugees cost about £8,000 per person – so the new commitments are likely to come with a huge price tag of up to £200million.

Mr Johnson said: ‘We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who have worked with us to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years. Many of them, particularly women, are now in urgent need of our help.

‘I am proud that the UK has been able to put in place this route to help them and their families live safely in the UK.’ But the PM stressed he wanted to share responsibility with other nations to prevent a ‘humanitarian emergency’ in Afghanistan.

‘The best solution for everyone is an Afghanistan that works for all Afghans. That means the international community coming together to set firm, political conditions for the country’s future governance.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the scheme would allow the ‘most vulnerable’ Afghans to ‘start a new life in safety in the UK, away from the tyranny and oppression they now face’.

‘We will not abandon people who have been forced to flee their homes and are now living in terror of what might come next,’ she added.

Afghans allowed to come to the UK will be distributed across the country, the Government indicated last night. A spokesman said it would work with the devolved administrations and local councils to make sure Afghans get help to rebuild their lives.

Ministers had promised to set up a ‘generous’ and ‘world-leading’ programme to resettle those fleeing the new Taliban regime.

Miss Patel was last night due to hold an emergency meeting with members of the ‘Five Eyes’ intelligence-sharing alliance that also includes the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. She would press for ‘international collaboration on setting up safe and legal routes for Afghan refugees, a source said.

The new Afghan programme will be modelled on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme which launched in 2014 in conjunction with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

The UNHCR identifies potential cases for the UK to consider and applicants are then vetted by British officials.

The new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will focus on women and girls who fear their rights will be trampled under the ‘Islamic Emirate’ declared by the Taliban.

It will also offer help to those forced to flee their homes and to religious minorities in the country. They will be given the right to stay in the UK permanently.


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