Cheltenham’s MP, Alex Chalk, has used Prime Minister’s Question Time to raise his concerns about the future of Afghan interpreters, who worked with British troops fighting the Taliban.
About 400 former Afghan interpreters had relocated to the UK as part of a government supported scheme. More than 150 interpreters who served on the front line in Helmand Province were granted sanctuary in the UK in 2012 under a five-year visa set to expire next year.
But in a letter sent to the Home Office earlier this month they said they faced being sent back to Afghanistan unless they paid the £2,389 fee to apply for indefinite right to remain in the UK.
Addressing Theresa May at Prime Minister Question Time, Alex Chalk asked “Afghan interpreters who served alongside British troops did so with skill and courage. Will my right hon. Friend confirm that those who have made their homes in our country can remain and that the ordinary fees will be waived as a small sign of our gratitude?”
Responding to Alex Chalk, the Prime Minister confirmed that the new Home Secretary Sajid Javid MP “has been looking at this issue, particularly in relation to the fees for those individuals. Some have wished and been able to return to Afghanistan and have been given opportunities by the Government to retrain and re-establish their lives there, but it is important that we recognise the debt that we owe them.”
In one of his first decisions following his appointment at the Home Office, Sajid Javid has said the fees will be waived to allow them to stay.
You can read this exchange here: