Afghanistan: How many refugees is my local council welcoming?

Refugees from Afghanistan wait to be processed after arriving on a evacuation flight at Heathrow Airport, London. Picture date: Thursday August 26, 2021.  Dominic Lipinski/PA
Various councils across the Midlands are pledging to support numbers of Afghan refugees starting a new life in the UK. Credit: PA

With Afghanistan in the midst of a crisis, thousands of Afghan people are fleeing to escape the hardline Taliban regime, which is taking control of the country for the first time in 20 years.

Many of those fleeing the country are people who have assisted the UK and US military during the ongoing conflict.

The government has promised that up to 5,000 Afghans can find refuge in the UK this year, with up to 20,000 in the longer term.

A coach outside the arrivals hall at Birmingham Airport, as refugees from Afghanistan arrive in England. Credit: PA

In the past few weeks, local councils across the Midlands have pledged support to house numbers of Afghan families fleeing the Taliban regime.

East Midlands:

Mansfield District Council has so far pledged to provide humanitarian support to two families. The first family arrived in July and the other is expected this month. The Home Office will provide funding to cover the cost of housing, education, and welfare support to help them settle in the local community.

Melton Borough Council says it will relocate two families who are in immediate danger after serving with British Troops in Afghanistan. The leader of the council says there is a moral obligation to ensure the safety of interpreters and other local staff who risked their lives working alongside UK forces.

Nottingham City Council says that it’s working with the government to provide safe refuge to those who are at risk, but has not confirmed a number yet.

Meanwhile, Newark and Sherwood District Council is relocating two families described as in "immediate danger".

Cllr David Lloyd, leader of the council, said: "These people have acted heroically as our allies, despite the risk to themselves and their families, and it's only right that we do all we can to keep them safe and recognise their service and contribution to our country."

Broxtowe Borough Council has also committed to housing two families, while Gedling Borough Council is planning to support one family.

No exact numbers have been given by Ashfield and Rushcliffe councils, but they have said they will support the resettlement scheme once issued with further guidance.

Overall, Nottinghamshire County Council say the county will house 105 people (21 families), which encompasses the above numbers from various district and borough councils in the area.

Two Afghan families forced to flee from Afghanistan will be invited to relocate in Oadby & Wigston after the borough council pledged its support.

Derby City Council says it "stands ready to help" Afghan refugees fleeing the Taliban, and a spokesperson has confirmed that the city is already housing Afghan refugees through the locally employed staff relocation scheme, and urged compassion towards those being settled.

Meanwhile, a Derby refugee charity says 70 Afghan refugees have already arrived in the city, and are being supported by various organisations.

The exact number of refugees to be welcomed in Leicestershire remains unknown, but Leicester City Council has said it will join councils throughout the UK in granting sanctuary to those who helped British troops in Afghanistan.

British citizens and dual nationals residing in Afghanistan being relocated to the UK Credit: MoD

West Midlands:

Coventry City Council has said up to 150 Afghan interpreters and other UK government staff could be rehomed in Coventry over the next few months following the Taliban takeover of the country.

Peter Barnett, Head of Migration & Library Services at Coventry City Council, has reaffirmed Coventry's commitment to be a 'city of sanctuary' for asylum seekers and refugees.

Around 100 refugees are expected to be housed across Warwickshire.

Warwick District Council is set secure permanent homes for up to 25 families from Afghanistan in the local area, with Stratford on Avon District Council expected to welcome a similar number. 

Meanwhile, Dudley Borough Council has announced up to 20 families from Afghanistan will be welcomed to stay in the Black Country indefinitely, with the first families expected to arrive over the summer

Sandwell Council has given the green light for 20-25 families to come to the borough, and will review this when the government releases further details of the new resettlement scheme. 12 properties have already been made available and one household has already been resettled there.

Wolverhampton Council has pledged to re-home 80 individuals as part of the Afghan Relocation Scheme for interpreters who have served with British forces and their families. The council says it "must do what it can" to help the national effort.

Afghan refugees arriving at a Midlands Airport. Credit: Leading Rate Shread

Stoke-On-Trent Council have yet to confirm a number, but has confirmed it is looking at the arrangements and say a lot of work is taking place behind the scenes to ensure it can accommodate families with the appropriate support to meet their needs. 

In Birmingham, a council paper in July stated that the City Council would provide a home for 80 Afghans. 

Birmingham was officially recognised as a city of sanctuary for refugees fleeing war five years ago.

Staffordshire County Council says it is awaiting details from the Home Office about what action is required, and will then work in conjunction with district and borough councils to support Afghan refugees.

Across Staffordshire, 114 people have been resettled since 2014 under the previous Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme for refugees of the conflict in Syria - including three under the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme.

Herefordshire County Council has said it is yet to make a decision on the number of Afghan refugees to be welcomed in the county, but it will be committed to doing so. In January of 2020 made a flexible commitment to resettling a further 125 refugees before 2025.

Shropshire Council has pledged to help Afghan families, but haven't confirmed a number. However the council has issued an urgent appeal for landlords across the county to help with the effort of finding suitable homes for those in need.

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