Asylum: Afghanistan

Home Office written question – answered on 8th January 2018.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 19 December (HL3919), whether they consider that it is safe to return personnel who have worked as interpreters to Afghanistan; and what criteria they use to determine whether an interpreter “genuinely needs our protection".

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department

All asylum claims lodged in the UK, including those made by Afghan nationals who have previously worked as interpreters, are carefully considered on their individual merits by assessing all the evidence provided by the claimant against a background of published country information from the FCO and a wide range of recognised and publicly discloseable sources. These include the media and non-governmental sources, such as the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

We recognise that those who worked for international military forces may be at risk of retribution, but a grant of asylum is not automatic and an assessment of the threat depends on the circumstances of the case, including factors such as the location and length of employment and whether the individual can relocate to a safer part of the country to avoid persecution. Views are sought from the FCO and MoD on the likely risk to the individual. There are also two Government schemes to assist former interpreters and other locally engaged civilians in Afghanistan. These schemes provide for a safe and legal route for those former employees who require relocation, avoiding the need for dangerous journeys to the UK.

Those who are found not to need protection have a right of appeal to the independent courts. Once their appeals rights are exhausted they are expected to leave the UK unless they qualify for leave to remain under another immigration route.

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