UK visas for Afghan interpreters

Around 600 Afghan interpreters are to be offered the chance to settle in Britain after an apparent coalition rethink. About half the staff working with UK forces are expected to be granted visas in recognition of risks to their personal safety.

Clegg: Britain has 'duty of care' to Afghan interpreters

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said it would have been "morally unacceptable" to deny the Afghan interpreters the option of coming to Britain:

We owe it to them to make sure that where they are under real threat of retribution or intimidation, we look after them.

I think we have a duty of care to these people, just as we did to a number of interpreters who helped us in Iraq. I wasn't content with the idea which was floated that, somehow, this time round... as part of the menu of options for some of the interpreters who helped us, we wouldn't include as part of that menu of options the right to come to this country.

– Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister

Afghan settlement 'right for those who risked lives'

A settlement scheme is the right policy for people who have risked their lives to help our troops in Afghanistan. It was not right for the Government to leave interpreters and their families to face threats from the Taliban when we leave.

We will scrutinise the scheme carefully, as the details don't appear to be worked through. But we welcome this U-turn, albeit after ministers had said the opposite over many weeks and months.

– Yvette Cooper, Shadow home secretary

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Decision over Afghan interpreters 'will save lives'

Speaking to The Times (£) Afghan interpreter Mohammad Rafi Hottak welcomed the Government's decision, adding it would save lives.

It has been late in coming but finally the Government has made the right decision.

They have honoured the services of the Afghan interpreters.

This decision will save lives that are currently at risk. It will also send a message to the Taliban and the terrorists that the Afghan interpreters are not left alone to be persecuted.

– Mohammad Rafi Hottak

UK has duty to help those 'who trod the same path'

The Prime Minister has been very clear that we should not turn our backs on those who have trod the same path as our soldiers in Helmand, consistently putting their lives at risk to help our troops achieve their mission.

We should recognise the service given by those who have regularly put themselves in real danger while working for us.

These proposals give them a choice: the opportunity to go on working in Afghanistan, learning new skills and to go on rebuilding their country or to come and make a new start in Britain.

– Downing Street STATEMENT

Afghan interpreters to be offered chance to settle in UK

Around 600 Afghan interpreters are to be offered the chance to settle in Britain after an apparent coalition rethink.

About half the staff working with UK forces are expected to be granted visas in recognition of risks to their personal safety.

The proposals could see all interpreters who have been in the job more than 12 months and put themselves in physical danger offered a resettlement package.

They will need to have worked between December 2012 and December 2014, when troops are due to leave, to be eligible.

Interpreters fear for their safety in Afghanistan after helping British forces.
Interpreters fear for their safety in Afghanistan after helping British forces.

They could be offered a five-year visa for themselves and their family, with help relocating and finding accommodation and work in the UK.

The move comes despite David Cameron previously suggesting most Afghan interpreters should stay on in their country to help rebuild it after years of conflict.

But Liberal Democrats pushed for a similar approach to that taken with Iraqi interpreters

Watch more: Afghan interpreters seek refuge in the UK fearing repercussions

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