Afghan Veterans Who Served with UK May Be Exempted from Rwanda Scheme

Credits: The Independent

Ministers are open to considering requests from former defense chiefs to exempt Afghan and other asylum seekers who supported the British military from deportation to Rwanda.

Lord Houghton, Lord Stirrup, and Lord Browne are advocating for changes to the Safety of Rwanda Bill to prevent the removal of individuals who have worked with or for the UK abroad, as well as their partners and family members.

Home Secretary James Cleverly is reportedly open to considering this amendment as the bill progresses through Parliament. The proposal is expected to be approved by peers in the House of Lords on Wednesday.

This means that MPs in the House of Commons will need to decide whether to reject, accept, or seek a compromise on the amendment.

Afghan Veteran (Credits: The Independent)

Mr. Cleverly is said to be willing to consider any proposal that does not delay or disrupt the bill, which aims to revive the Rwanda deportation scheme following a Supreme Court ruling that declared it unlawful.

Lord Browne has cited examples of Afghans who served alongside UK forces facing deportation to Rwanda because they were unable to access government resettlement schemes after the Taliban regained control of Afghanistan.

These cases include an Afghan pilot who flew combat missions against the Taliban but could not access a safe route to the UK, as well as a sniper who served with British troops and came to the UK via a small boat after being “abandoned at the airfield” during evacuation efforts.

The government has not yet decided whether to compromise on the amendment. It may be more inclined to exempt those who worked directly for UK forces rather than all asylum seekers who supported the British military.