The Situation in Afghanistan
01 September 2021
House of Commons
Join me in welcoming the united approach to the resettlement and welcoming of Afghan refugees across West Sussex.
West Sussex County Council (WSCC) has been working with district and borough councils, the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups in West Sussex, Sussex Police, other services and voluntary groups across the county to resettle hundreds of refugees in our area.
Nearly one per cent of the world’s population - or one in 97 people - have been forced to flee their homes according to the UN Refugee Agency.
The dire situation in Afghanistan contributes further to this statistic.
WSCC with district and borough partners have been actively engaged with the existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). The ARAP scheme offers relocation or other assistance to current and former locally employed staff who worked alongside British forces.
Families have already been resettled in West Sussex under the ARAP scheme, with more arriving.
We can give them a warm welcome and a safe home.
I welcome the Government's update on Operation Warm Welcome.
Indefinite leave to remain is offered to Afghans and their families who worked closely with the British military and UK Government in Afghanistan.
They risked their lives for us. We can do what is possible to help them.
Funding has been allocated to ensure arriving children can be enrolled at school as quickly as possible, to provide transport, and to ensure English language support for those in need.
Further funding will be provided for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghans at UK universities. Adults will be able to access English language courses free of charge.
All arrivals are being offered the COVID-19 vaccine.
£3 million of additional NHS funding has been made available so that Afghans arriving under the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme can access healthcare and register with a GP.
£5 million in funding has been allocated to councils across England, Wales and Scotland, including in West Sussex to support Afghans coming to the UK via the ARAP scheme. It tops up help meet the costs of renting properties.
Support from the voluntary and community sector is invaluable for those seeking safety and security in our country.
Volunteers, charities, faith groups and our local communities increase the chances of families resettling quickly.
Let us ensure they are welcome, brought into and cared for within our communities.
For information on how you might offer assistance or support, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/syria-refugees-what-you-can-do-to-help--2
18 August 2021
House of Commons
Over recent weeks, my team and I have been working hard day-through-night to assist constituents and their families/loved ones who are affected by the situation in Afghanistan.
We continue to do what we can, working closely with the Foreign Office and their emergency repatriation team.
If you are in need of urgent assistance, please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Parliament was recalled for an emergency debate to consider the escalating situation in Afghanistan.
I drew on experience from the Falklands, Iraq, Syria and the break-up of Yugoslavia. We have been wrong in the past. The most important thing is to learn from our mistakes, to not repeat them and to make better decisions.
If we decide we are not going to get involved in world affairs, the world will be worse.
If we decide we are going to have the capability to work with others when we can, and occasionally on our own, that's fine.
We can compare the current situation with the situation we left in Syria with countless fatalities and refugees. We made a mistake there.
We should be ashamed at our inaction in Syria and should consider this when looking at the current situation in Afghanistan.
For those who are concerned for the welfare and safety of family members and loved ones currently in Afghanistan, we recommend following the advice provided on the .Gov website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-british-and-non-british-nationals-in-afghanistan
If you are a British national, or family member of a British national in Afghanistan, call +44 1908 516 666 (or 01908 516 666 in the UK) and select the option ‘Consular services for British nationals’.
If you are an Afghan national in Afghanistan, or are the family member of a non-British national in Afghanistan, and in need of assistance, call +44 2475 389 980 (or 02475 389 980 in the UK).
If you wish to contact my office for assistance in helping yourself, a family member, or someone you are concerned for, we would kindly ask you provide the following details: Full name, nationality, date of birth, gender, contact details whilst in Afghanistan, passport number.