Afghanistan: Refugees

Ministry of Defence written question – answered on 22nd June 2022.

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Photo of Nusrat Ghani Nusrat Ghani Conservative, Wealden

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, on what date the oldest application that is yet to be fully processed was submitted to his Department through the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP); how many staff in his Department are assigned to dealing with outstanding ARAP applications as of 16 June 2022; how many ARAP applications were closed due to the applicant (a) being killed and (b) dying since the scheme was launched; and what estimate has he made of the number of people awaiting an outcome of their ARAP application who are known to be at risk of being killed by the Taliban.

Photo of James Heappey James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

The earliest unresolved case dates from 1 April 2021 and relates to an individual that we have contacted three times requesting further information relating to their eligibility.

Since January 2022, the Ministry of Defence has received approximately 3,000 ARAP applications per month. Many of these are duplicates of applications already made. The number of open cases, therefore, does not reflect the number of eligible people that remain in Afghanistan. We assess that to be around 8,000 (inclusive of their dependents). This figure is subject to change as we continue to work through the outstanding applications.

No cases have been closed because of the death of an applicant although we are aware of the acute threat that a number of applicants face whilst they remain in Afghanistan.

However, the speed of decision making in HM Government is not the regulator on the speed of evacuation. Many ARAP applicants are undocumented and cannot leave Afghanistan through any official route. We are bringing them out at the speed our partners in the region will allow.

Whilst we are putting additional resource into clearing a backlog of ARAP applications, our priority is in securing permission from regional partners to accelerate the pace at which we can bring undocumented applicants out of Afghanistan.

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