To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps the Government is taking to offer asylum to civilians fleeing from Afghanistan following the Taliban's recent ascent to power in that country.
10 September 2021
The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to be allowed to travel to the UK to seek asylum or temporary refuge. Whilst we acknowledge the increasingly complex situation in Afghanistan, we are not bound to consider asylum claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.
While we do not allow asylum claims from abroad, all asylum claims that are lodged from within the UK, including those from Afghan nationals, will be carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our international obligations. Those who need protection will normally be granted five years’ limited leave, have full access to the labour market and mainstream benefits, and can apply for settlement after five years.
No one who is found to be at risk of persecution or serious harm in Afghanistan will be expected to return there, and enforced returns of those who have been refused asylum and have exhausted all rights of appeal are currently paused.
The UK’s new resettlement scheme will, however, offer a route welcoming Afghans most at risk who have been forced to flee the country, prioritising resettling women, girls and children to the UK. Further details on the Scheme will be published in due course.