To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, whether her Department is taking steps to provide safe passage out of Afghanistan to Afghan Chevening scholars; and what his Department's policy is on the level of priority Afghan Chevening scholars have for UK Government support.
24 September 2021
Between 15 and 29 August, the UK evacuated over 15,000 people from Afghanistan. That includes: over 8,000 British Nationals, close to 5,000 Afghans who loyally served the UK, along with their dependents, and around 500 special cases of particularly vulnerable Afghans, including Chevening scholars, journalists, human rights defenders, campaigners for women's rights, judges and many others. All these figures include dependants.
All offers made to Afghan Chevening scholars for 2021-22 are valid. We successfully evacuated the majority of Afghan Chevening scholars in this year's cohort and will continue to do all we can to support the small number who remain in Afghanistan. We are clear that the Taliban must ensure safe passage for these people out of Afghanistan and any engagement with them will emphasise this first and foremost.
The Chevening Secretariat is in touch with all Afghan Chevening scholars and their families, and is liaising with universities, local authorities and the Home Office to help scholars access support in the UK. Afghan scholars and their families who travelled in evacuation flights have automatically been granted an initial 6 months leave to remain in the UK. This means that those scholars and their dependents can work, study, receive healthcare and apply for support with accommodation and living costs. The Home Office is offering all Afghan arrivals bridging accommodation, if they have not yet been able to identify permanent accommodation. Scholars entering from third countries will come on student visas.