EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan Debate

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Department: Home Office

EU Borders: Refugees from Afghanistan

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Excerpts
Thursday 9th September 2021

(2 years, 10 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Asked by
Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale
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To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the European Union about refugees from Afghanistan who may have a right to settle in the United Kingdom being processed through EU borders.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, I beg leave to ask the Question standing in my name on the Order Paper and, in doing so, draw attention to my entry in the Lords register.

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Williams of Trafford) (Con)
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My Lords, the UK has committed to resettle up to 20,000 at-risk individuals through the Afghanistan citizens’ resettlement scheme, in addition to relocating those who supported our Armed Forces or the UK Government in Afghanistan through the Afghan relocations and assistance policy, or ARAP. We continue to work with EU partners to co-ordinate our response to Afghanistan and support those most at risk.

Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale Portrait Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale (Lab)
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My Lords, I am grateful for that response but it does not really answer the Question. We all know that, over recent years, significant numbers of potential Afghani refugees have come through Europe to relocate either in other European countries or, if they felt that they had a connection to here, here in the United Kingdom. I would be very concerned if there was any suggestion at all that the Government’s more difficult relationship with the European Union might inhibit safe passage for those who have a right to come to the United Kingdom to move perhaps from the eastern European border to here in order to be processed suitably. Will the Government guarantee that there will be discussion with the European Union to ensure that not only are there processes in place in Pakistan and in neighbouring countries but, where potential Afghani refugees have come to the European Union in order then to move to the United Kingdom, there will be a system in place to allow them due consideration?

Baroness Williams of Trafford Portrait Baroness Williams of Trafford (Con)
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One thing I can assure the noble Lord of is that today the Home Secretary is meeting EU Commissioner Johansson and that migration, including the provision of safe and legal routes, is also being discussed today at the G7. An EU resettlement forum, also attended by the US and Canada, is also due to take place on 27 September. Finally, let me say to the noble Lord that anyone who makes a journey to Europe should claim asylum in the first safe country that they reach.