Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy

Part of Defence – in the House of Commons on 18th July 2022.

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Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

The hon. Gentleman probably just heard me answer the previous two questions. There are hundreds of thousands of applications, many of which are duplicates, and many of which are from people who have no eligibility under ARAP whatsoever. ARAP is a very tightly bound scheme. It is not the same as the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme or other mechanisms where each case might be judged on its merits. There is a list of people who worked with the British armed forces in Afghanistan, so our focus must be on finding the people on that list and bringing them out. We are doing so quickly.

The hon. Gentleman says that it has been nearly a year. That is correct, Mr Speaker, but it is not as if we can just wander around in Afghanistan and find these people. It is not straightforward. A lot of them are undocumented. He may want to speak to some of the charities that are working on this, as I know that some of his colleagues on the Back Benches do. When I spoke to them last week, they realised that the situation was exactly as I have said: it is not easy; people do not have documents; and we are working fast to get people out. We think we have found of way of doing so quicker, and we will be getting on with it now.