Charlie Stayt grills SNP on plans for Afghan refugees
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A wave of refugees from Afghanistan are expected to make their way to Europe as they flee from the Taliban, with countries pledging to take them in. Now Home Secretary Priti Patel has blasted French President Emmanuel Macron and the European Commission over its lack of support for the resettlement of Afghan refugees.
The Government announced its plans yesterday to welcome thousands of Afghans fleeing the Taliban.
The new settlement programme will prioritise women, girls and those from religious minorities who are expected to be most at risk from the Taliban.
Ms Patel has called on Mr Macron and the European Commission to do “much more” to help Afghan refugees.
The Home Secretary told Sky News: “Within Europe, there is so much more that the EU Commission can do and could do in terms of stopping irregular migration and creating safe and legal routes.
“To be frank I have also been talking to and persuading other EU states over recent months to effectively tell them to do much more on the humanitarian side.”
In stark contrast, President Macron said the EU needed to adopt new strategies to clamp down on migration flows from Afghanistan.
He said: “We must anticipate and protect ourselves against major irregular migratory flows that would endanger those who use them and feed trafficking of all kinds.”
He added: “Europe alone cannot bear the consequences of the current situation.”
How many refugees will Britain welcome?
Britain already had plans to relocate 5,000 people as part of an Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy.
The plan was designed to help present and past employees of the UK government.
Yesterday the Government announced its plans to expand its commitment to Afghan refugees.
The Government now intends to resettle 20,000 people fleeing from Afghanistan.
The Home Office said in a statement: “The complex picture on the ground means there will be significant challenges delivering the scheme, but the government is working at speed to address these obstacles.”
Ms Patel said: “I want to ensure that as a nation we do everything possible to provide support to the most vulnerable fleeing Afghanistan so they can start a new life in safety in the UK.”
She added: “The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will save lives.”
How will the scheme work?
The scheme was announced yesterday but the Government hasn’t published how people can apply yet.
The scheme will prioritise those deemed most at risk from the Taliban.
The Government has said of the total 20,000 Afghans resettled in the UK as part of the scheme, only 5,000 will be granted asylum in the UK in the first year.
The resettlement programme will look similar to the programme introduced during the Syrian war.
This saw 20,000 Syrians relocated to the UK between 2014 and 2021.
The Government has stressed the scheme will “not compromise on national security.”
It added those applying for the scheme would have to pass “strict security checks”.
The Government will fund the scheme and will work with devolved governments and local councils to rehome the refugees throughout the UK.
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