Only four Afghan refugees have been resettled in Britain since the fall of Kabul

The resettlement of Afghans (ACRS) scheme aims to resettle 5,000 Afghans in the first year, and up to 20,000 over five years

Only four Afghan refugees have been brought to safety in Britain by the government's flagship resettlement scheme since the fall of Kabul, according to Home Office data.

Announced last August, the Afghan resettlement scheme (ACRS) aims to resettle 5,000 Afghans in the first year, and up to 20,000 over five years.

But while the 6,314 refugees already in the UK have been granted indefinite leave to stay, only 4 who fled Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover have been resettled.

The charity condemned the minister for "abandoning the Afghan people" and effectively closing safe routes to Britain to those at risk overseas.

The Independent Refugee Welcome Campaign has called on the government to do more to make Britain a haven for refugees.

The Home Office said the situation was "complex and presents us with significant challenges".

It was revealed in February that around 6,500 places had been given to Afghans who were evacuated during Operation Pitting – the British military's operation after the Taliban attack in August 2021.

Since then, however, only four people have been resettled under the second track – which received a referral from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

That means that Afghans who are at risk in Afghanistan, or in a third country, effectively have no safe route to the UK.

Stephen Kinnock, shadow minister for immigration, said: “Britain owes a debt of gratitude to the brave Afghan people who serve British interests in Afghanistan, and it is a debt that must be honored. UN figures show that since last summer at least 160 Afghans have been killed in retaliatory attacks.

"Operation Warm Welcome has become Operation Cold Shoulder, due to the toxic combination of incompetence and indifference of the Conservative government."

He said ministers "must urgently clear up asylum deposits within the country, while working more effectively with UNHCR to deliver on the promise they made last fall to save vulnerable Afghans."

Mary Atkinson, campaigns officer at the Joint Council on Immigrant Welfare, said the figures were "embarrassing" and added that "this failure pushed many at-risk Afghans – not excluding those with British ties – onto the perilous journey here".

He continued: "We must not let this government go by ignoring the shameful Afghan people - we need a fully functional Afghan resettlement scheme now."

Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Alistair Carmichael said the government had failed to uphold their commitments to Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban terror.

"They claim to care about the Afghan refugees but you can count the number of people they occupy on one side," he said.

A former senior Afghan prosecutor has lived in immigration limbo in Pakistan for more than a year. Despite having British family members, he was unable to move to England.

The former director of prosecution for the Afghanistan province which is home to 500,000 people previously told The Independent that he felt a "constant fear" that the Taliban network in Pakistan would find him.

“I was always scared; I'm afraid I will go to jail. I don't know what will happen," the prosecutor said. His case has been referred to UNHCR but he is still stuck in Pakistan, his lawyer Deena Patel said Thursday.

The ACRS scheme, which opened in January, is designed to help those who have "supported Britain's efforts in Afghanistan and defended values ​​such as democracy, free speech and the rule of law", the government said.

Track one issues visas to those already in the UK after they were evacuated by British troops after the fall of Kabul, while track two is open to Afghan families who have fled Afghanistan for neighboring countries, mostly Pakistan or Iran, and have been identified by UNHCR as needing resettlement. return.

Ms Patel, Sohaib Fatimi's Lawyers representing people seeking access to the scheme, said: “The number of four Afghans [coming via route two] is very credible. The prosecutor's case is a strong case based on merit. He should have been moved to line two, but he's been waiting months."

“This is taking too long. UNHCR has to carry out a refugee assessment in each case, if they don't expedite this process then they will not make referrals to the Home Office.

“We know the crisis this is causing – most of those who come illegally are Afghans. What can you do if there is no legal recourse?

Dr Neelam Raina, an academic who supports refugees forced to flee Afghanistan, said: "ACRS is just pretending to exist". This article was written by EDUKASI CAMPUS. 

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