British Council Contractors: Afghanistan

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 10:30 am on 23rd June 2022.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Vicky Ford Vicky Ford Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 10:30 am, 23rd June 2022

I also send my thoughts to those affected by the terrible earthquake two days ago. The UK is one of the largest donors of humanitarian aid to Afghanistan, and we are already working with teams on the ground, including the UN, non-governmental organisations and the Red Cross, to get assistance to those who need it.

The hon. Gentleman asks how many British Council staff are still affected. I make it clear, as I did in my opening remarks, that all former British Council employees —in other words, British Council staff—who wished to resettle have arrived in the UK with their family members. British Council employees were prioritised both in Operation Pitting and in the immediate response to help those who were invited to take part in Operation Pitting but did not make it out, and they are among the 4,600 people who have since come out of Afghanistan.

The issue here is contractors. We have prioritised British Council contractors, GardaWorld contractors and Chevening alumni in the 1,500 places we have this year. They will be able to put in their expression of interest between now and 15 August. I must say—maybe this will also help my hon. Friend Mr Baron—that if there are exceptional and compelling circumstances, for example a threat to life, they can set that out in their expression of interest and they will be considered for expediated action.