The government admits that Afghan resettlement plan has not yet been drawn up

The government has been warned that Afghan refugees eligible for a British resettlement scheme could “die before it becomes operational” after a three-month delay.

Ministers promised to move up to 20,000 people after the Taliban took over the country in August, but the scheme has not yet started and is still in the design phase.

Proponents of her case have been working to make the actual transcript of this statement available online.

The delay comes as the government takes steps to criminalize all asylum seekers arriving in the UK on small boats or along other irregular routes. At least 10 migrants are believed to have drowned in the English Channel in recent weeks.

Victoria Atkins, the Afghan resettlement minister, told the House of Commons: “We are working urgently across the government and with partners such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to design the scheme.

“We will continue to support the thousands of people who have been successfully evacuated from Afghanistan during Operation Pitting, and we will continue to support those covered by the scheme when it opens.”

Labor MP Helen Hayes said one of her voters had a brother who lived in hiding in Afghanistan with his wife and children.

She added: “Since the evacuation ended, they have lost an uncle and a cousin, both murdered by the Taliban, and they have received several threatening messages. They live in daily fear for their lives, but the government will not issue papers to give it to them. best chance of safe passage to the UK via a third country. “

Atkins said the security situation in Afghanistan meant that Britain had no consular presence in the country but was “working at pace” to establish the resettlement process.

“We want to set up the scheme as an example of a safe and legal route under the government’s new immigration plan,” she added.

Labor MP Bamboo Charalambous said: “There is a real risk that the people the scheme is meant to help will die before it becomes operational.”

Atkins said 15,000 people were evacuated during Operation Pitting emergency operation and that there were agreements to remove more from Afghanistan with third countries.

People crossing the canal are ‘not real asylum seekers’ and just want to stay in hotels, says Priti Patel

She insisted that Britain “fulfilled its obligation” to translators and other Afghans who were made Taliban targets because of their work with the British military.

Louise Calvey, head of services at the charity Refugee Action, said: “It is indefensible that ministers are still tumbling over the details of its Afghan resettlement plan, three months after Kabul’s fall.

“These delays are due in part to the government’s previous refusal to commit to a long – term resettlement program, which left it completely unprepared when necessary.

“But there is no excuse for not helping now. Ministers must use the already operational British resettlement scheme as soon as possible to identify and relocate vulnerable Afghan refugees so they can begin rebuilding their lives here in safety.”

Lisa Doyle, director of advocacy at the Norwegian Refugee Council, said she was “appalled” by the delay, adding: “The situation in Afghanistan remains extremely dangerous with many people at risk of being persecuted. The government needs to clarify as soon as possible when we can expect the scheme to open. ”

During the same parliamentary debate, Priti Patel defended a series of new laws that would criminalize any refugee – including Afghans – crossing the English Channel on small boats or otherwise without “entry clearance”.

“The new immigration plan and the nationality and borders bill are crucial to the comprehensive reform of the whole system,” the interior minister told parliament. “There is no single solution.”

A group of people believed to be migrants intercepted in the canal are brought into Dover by a lifeboat


Several Conservative MPs said their voters were angry at the more than 25,000 channel crossings so far this year – more than three times the total number for 2020 – and wanted action.

During Monday’s debate, the interior minister did not confirm whether planned boat push-backs had taken place or whether the government wanted “offshore” asylum seekers in a third country.

Nick Thomas-Symonds, Labor’s shadow interior minister, urged Patel to “accept responsibility” for the situation instead of uttering “empty rhetoric and broken promises”.

He added: “The government agreement with the French authorities is failing. The government has shut down safe routes, such as the Dubs scheme, and they have cut back on the aid budget, which addressed the reasons why people are fleeing their homes.

“Last week, the interior minister once again promised to make the canal crossing route unsustainable, but nothing happens and more and more people continue to risk their lives.”

Thomas-Symonds accused the Home Secretary of “losing the confidence of not only the country but also her colleagues”, after failing to replace an agreement lost in Brexit, which allowed asylum seekers to be returned to EU countries, the former has been through.

Mrs. Patel replied, “The answer is right, honey. The gentleman’s question is no, all the way through.”

She later said the situation would be “much worse if it were not for the work already unresolved by the government”.

Several MPs called on the interior minister to withdraw previous allegations that 70 per cent of the people crossing the canal were “economic migrants”, after a survey using the interior ministry data showed that almost two-thirds received protection as refugees.

Mrs Patel rejected and reiterated an unconfirmed claim that “70 per cent are single men and they are economic migrants”. Gender and marital status have no bearing on refugee status in the legislation.

Ms Doyle, from the Refugee Council, said: “The Home Office’s own data suggest that the vast majority of the men, women and children crossing the canal are from countries where persecution and human rights violations are widespread and are highly likely to be given protection.

“Instead of denying this reality, this government should show compassion by welcoming those in need of refugee protection, instead of trying to push them back across the canal or punish them with imprisonment.”

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