Doncaster to welcome refugee families from Afghanistan who served alongside British forces

Doncaster will provide homes for a number of refugee families from Afghanistan who served alongside British forces as interpreters during the near two-decade conflict.

Wednesday, 4th August 2021, 2:40 pm
Baxter Gate, Doncaster. Picture: Marie Caley

The council will receive £104,000 from Migration Yorkshire in order to provide homes for three families who will be housed in two borough communities.

In May 2021, the Home Office, through Migration Yorkshire, asked councils to support the voluntary scheme in welcoming families and individuals into the UK.

Doncaster has volunteered to take three families, which total 15 people. The initial dates for the families across Yorkshire to arrive were initially confirmed for August.

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But due to the rapidly deteriorating situation in Afghanistan, alongside the withdrawal of UK and US troops, this has been brought forward and the first tranche of families have arrived in both Calderdale and Leeds after the required Covid-19 quarantine.

The first family has recently arrived in Doncaster with the remaining two families coming in August.

The majority of the funding from the Home Office will be in place for 12 months with the funding the council receives being used to establish the family homes and providing what is needed to support their integration into the wider community, council bosses said.

Children in the families coming over to Doncaster will be enrolled in schools and be provided with English language support.

Nationally, 4,000 Afghan nationals who served alongside British forces will be eligible for settlement in the UK.

Joanne Evans, a DMBC officer within the adults, health and wellbeing team, said: “As British and US Forces are leaving Afghanistan the situation for the Afghan nationals that were employed, mainly as interpreters, has become dangerous, with them being at increased risk.

“In December 2020, due to the deteriorating security situation in the country, the Government announced the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. This is a new scheme that offers relocation or other assistance to current and former staff and families in Afghanistan to reflect the changing situation.

“Under the new scheme, those current, or former, staff, assessed to be at serious risk of threat to life, are being offered priority relocation to the UK, regardless of their employment status, rank or role, or length of time served. It is estimated that this will involve around 4,000 Afghan nationals.

“They will receive a five year visa which includes the right to work, social housing and free access to health services; they will apply for habitual residency status on arrival.”

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