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THE Tories have been accused of “slamming the doors shut” on vulnerable Afghans once again after ministers tightened the criteria for their relocation to Britain.
Under the changes, quietly introduced on Tuesday, Afghans who worked for the British government or military will find it more difficult to enter Britain via the Afghan relocations and assistance policy (Arap).
The changes, presented in the form of an explanatory note to Parliament, mean that Afghans applying for the scheme will now need to prove that they have a “high and imminent risk” of threat to their life rather than simply an “imminent risk.”
The change comes despite Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s promise in August to give a “warm welcome” and “never forget the brave sacrifice made by Afghans who chose to work with us, at great risk to themselves.”
The Arap scheme is currently the only safe route for Afghans to arrive in Britain. Government promises in August for a second resettlement scheme, which would bring 20,000 Afghans to Britain over a period of five years, have yet to materialise.
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants interim chief executive Minnie Rahman accused the government of breaking its promises to Afghans.
“This latest news on Arap is just another example of them slamming the doors shut on vulnerable Afghans — even those who risked their lives working alongside us,” she said.
“People will face the impossible choice of staying in Afghanistan and risking death or making their own treacherous journeys here and facing prison, detention or removal under this government’s new Borders Bill.”
The Home Office said the rules were being updated to “make clear who is eligible to apply under the scheme, enable more families to remain together, and offer support to those who need it most.”
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