To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, how many (a) former and (b) current Afghan Chevening Scholars have entry clearance to arrive in the UK; how many of those scholars have arrived since April 2021 under (i) the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) or (ii) another entry policy; if he will provide details of all entry policies through which former and current Chevening Scholars can arrive in the UK; and if he will make a statement.
24 September 2021
Between 15 and 29 August, the UK evacuated over 15,000 people from Afghanistan. Approximately 500 of these are 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 out of Afghanistan and any engagement with the Taliban 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.