Since the collapse of the Afghan Government last year, my office has been working tirelessly to help British nationals affected by the direct consequences of the Taliban regime.

Through sheer hard work, determination and my own repeated representation to Government Ministers, we have thankfully managed to assist 34 Middlesbrough constituents in returning safely to Teesside. We are so relieved and thankful they are back home. 

Sadly, there are still British nationals from Middlesbrough and their families who remain in Afghanistan, suffering the most difficult of circumstances.

The Government announced somewhile ago that the Afghanistan Citizens Resettlement Scheme would be opening and I know that many of my constituents were hopeful this would be of help to them in returning to Middlesbrough.

However, five months after it was promised it is deeply concerning that it seems it still will not be offering any new places for those fleeing persecution in Afghanistan for many more months.

There is still no working route for the family members of British citizens trapped in Afghanistan and at the same time, the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan is escalating and there is no co-ordinated international plan to address it.

Delays getting these programmes in place will mean more lives are at risk and more desperate people vulnerable to exploitation by criminal traffickers as they try to make dangerous journeys by themselves.

Since the Scheme opened, my office has understandably been contacted by those constituents still in Afghanistan, hoping they will be eligible to return with their immediate family members. Unfortunately, at present there is no representation I can make to this Government that will facilitate the return of my constituents along with their families.

Having to explain why we cannot change the Scheme to assist them, or others with family in Afghanistan is heartbreaking as myself and my senior caseworker have worked, and continue to work, day in day out to help.

We will continue to support constituents where we can and will monitor the Scheme closely over the coming months. 


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