Birmingham offers to ‘urgently’ take 80 Afghan refugees fleeing Taliban

Afghanistan: Pakistan are 'biggest victims' says minister

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The UK’s second city is also in talks with the Home Office about the possibility of accepting more people as the radical Islamist group effectively became the country’s ruler at the weekend. Papers published by Birmingham City Council show the Home Office began discussions in May, Birmingham Live reported.

It told the authority that the Government department expected to relocate 5,000 Afghans across the country by the end of September.

This forward planning hints that Westminster was predicting an imminent humanitarian crisis in the country following the withdrawal of foreign forces.

But after the Taliban swept aside inept Western-backed Government forces in vast swathes of the country in a matter of weeks, calls to rehouse Afghans who could be murdered by the radical Islamists grew louder.

A report by council officials to Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet, published at the end of July, stated: “On Monday 24th May 2021, local authorities including Birmingham City Council were approached by the West Midlands Strategic Migration Partnership on behalf of the Home Office to request local authorities’ urgent support for the Afghan Interpreters Relocation Scheme.”

The council paper went on: “The relocation scheme has been in place since 2013 but there is now a pressing need to accelerate the rate of transfers to the UK, in line with the now active withdrawal of UK troops from Afghanistan.

“The UK government aims to relocate 5,000 individuals under this scheme by the end of September 2021.”

It added: “The Home Office and the Ministry of Defence are operating with considerable urgency around this scheme.”

The arrivals will be placed in private rented housing, and the city will receive more than £1 million in funding.

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The Home Office now says numbers will be kept under review.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is expected to announce a resettlement scheme to allow fleeing Afghans to set-up home in the UK, according to Number 10.

He could provide more details when he makes a statement to the House of Commons tomorrow.

Afghans relocated to the UK will include people such as translators who cooperated with NATO forces during the 20-year occupation of Afghanistan, and could be at risk of Taliban reprisals.

The Home Office told Birmingham City Council that those relocated under the scheme will not have refugee status.

Instead, they will be visa holders with five years’ limited leave to remain.

At the end of this, they will have the opportunity to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain at the end of those 5 years.

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