Afghanistan: Refugee resettled in Bristol fears for his family

  • Watch David Wood's report

Five families have been welcomed in Bristol but Afghan refugees are worried about the friends and relatives that have been left behind.

Mohammed risked his life as a translator for British troops in Afghanistan and was evacuated from the country earlier this month because of the danger posed to him from the Taliban.

He recognises that he is fortunate to leave the country – along with more than 15,000 others who have fled since August 13 – but is concerned about his mother who is still there.

He said: "I couldn’t dare to go out. The people are stopping you, they are kidnapping, they are beating you or even shooting with a rifle so there is no security at all.

"It is very tough. We don’t know what she’s going to do, what’s she’s going to eat, what she’s going to drink, who’s going to look after her.

"It is a very tough time for me and for my mum as well."

Refugees from Afghanistan who worked with the Government will be able to move to UK permanently Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA

The Government announced today that Afghans who worked with the British government and military will be able to move to the UK permanently, according to the Home Office.

The department announced the decision on September 1 as it revealed more details of how its plan, dubbed Operation Warm Welcome, will help Afghans rebuild their lives in the UK.

Former Afghan staff and their family members eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap), which prioritises relocation to the UK for current or former locally employed staff who have been assessed to be under serious threat to life.

They will be given immediate indefinite leave to remain as opposed to only five years' temporary residency as previously permitted.

Those who have already been relocated in the UK with temporary residency can now upgrade their immigration status for free, allowing them access to permanent jobs with unrestricted rights to work.

A further 11 families are on their way to Bristol and the city's council says it will have more if private landlords will house them and there are incentives for them to do so.

Anne James, the refugee director at Bristol City Council, is urging landlords to work with the council to help resettle Afghan refugees Credit: ITV West Country

Anne James, the Refugee Director at Bristol City Council, said: "What we say to landlords is that if you work with us, then there are certain benefits to you working with us.

"For example, we can guarantee the rent. We do basic repairs, we do all the liaison with the tenants so you don’t have to be on call for a leak at half past ten on a Saturday night."

There are still hundreds of UK citizens who are desperate to escape whilst those who've already made the journey are now waiting for homes.

All councils in the West Country have offered help and Victoria Atkins MP, the Home Office Minister, said it’ll take time for those offers to be accepted.

She said: "We’re doing this in a very careful manner and also want to be able to provide housing which is why we’ve announced the £5 million discretionary fund today to help with that.

"We want to help the children and the adults that have come over to get right into schooling to start building their bright futures."