The Ministry of Defence has apologised after an investigation discovered Afghan candidates to a resettlement scheme have been advised they might solely come to the UK if their paperwork have been authorised by the Taliban.
The Impartial revealed that the error affected candidates to the Afghan relocations and help coverage scheme (Arap), which goals to relocate Afghan residents who labored with the UK authorities or helped its armed forces in Afghanistan. The MoD decides which candidates – who could apply with their households – are eligible for relocation to Britain.
Arap differs from the Afghan residents resettlement scheme (ACRS), which works to relocate members of the general public and susceptible folks to the UK.
Citing emails despatched from MoD caseworkers to Arap candidates, the Impartial discovered candidates have been required to supply start and marriage certificates in English and bearing stamps from Afghan authorities departments. The Taliban has dominated Afghanistan because the summer time of 2021.
The MoD initially denied the apply however an MoD spokesperson finally mentioned the ministry has “swiftly corrected” the error and was “urgently reinforcing our inner steerage and processes to make sure this doesn’t occur once more”.
“We apologise unreservedly and proceed to work tirelessly to maneuver eligible folks to security,” the spokesperson mentioned.
The Arap case staff additionally despatched an apology e-mail to candidates, stating: “We perceive that a few of you’ll have obtained communications from Arap telling you to go to the native authorities or ministry of overseas affairs to acquire new documentation on your relocation to the UK.
“In case you obtained one in every of these messages, this was incorrect and we apologise for any misunderstanding or misery attributable to this message.”
One Afghan interpreter was advised his marriage certificates and his kids’s start certificates needed to be validated by Afghanistan’s ministry of overseas affairs. He tried to get his marriage certificates verified on the Taliban’s ministry of justice.
The interpreter stays in Afghanistan, ready for assist to switch to a 3rd nation earlier than the UK. He’s at present in hiding and unable to work.
The UK authorities promised to resettle as much as 20,000 eligible Afghans – together with 5,000 within the first yr – however has been criticised for delays within the course of.
Whereas 11,212 folks have been resettled in Britain underneath Arap, the variety of admittances fell in late 2021, after the Taliban took over Afghanistan.
In keeping with House Workplace information, greater than 6,200 Afghans have been relocated underneath Arap between July and September 2021. This dropped to 732 within the final quarter of 2021. One yr on, solely 743 have been admitted within the final quarter of 2022.
As for ACRS, solely 22 Afghans eligible underneath the scheme’s second pathway – designed for susceptible fleeing refugees referred by the United Nations excessive commissioner for refugees – have been resettled by the top of December.