CONSERVATIVE
New Forest East

DEFENCE – AFGHAN INTERPRETERS [181176] - 15 April 2021

DEFENCE – AFGHAN INTERPRETERS [181176] - 15 April 2021

Dr Julian Lewis:  To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Afghan (a) present and (b) former (i) interpreters (ii) other locally employed civilians have applied for resettlement to the UK and are currently awaiting a decision; whether all such applications will be fully decided before 11 September 2021; what arrangements will exist after that date to enable further applications to be made in the event that the security situation deteriorates; and if he will take immediate steps to ensure that applications to resettle in the UK made by bona fide former employees of UK armed forces receive positive responses.  [181176]

[Due for Answer on 20 April.] 

ANSWER

The Minister for Defence People and Veterans (Johnny Mercer):  Her Majesty's Government has so far relocated 1,358 locally employed Afghan staff and their families to the UK. A total of 532 eligible locally employed staff have applied for relocation to the UK, of which 84 are currently awaiting a decision. Of these, all but six are interpreters and all are former locally employed staff. These applications will be fully decided before 11 September 2021. I cannot comment on arrangements to enable further applications to be made after that date in the event that the security situation deteriorates, as doing so would require me to reveal the details of live operational planning. I have tasked my officials to work in concert with partners across government to explore all options to ensure that current and former locally employed staff who are eligible for relocation under the terms of the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy and the Ex-Gratia Scheme are relocated.