The operation to evacuate more than 123,000 civilians from Afghanistan has ended.
The Home Office is leading on the UK’s resettlement scheme and they have approached the devolved nations in an effort to provide accommodation for Afghans recently evacuated. 20,000 Afghans will be relocated to the UK over the coming years. Councils in Scotland will be required to consider the role that they are able to play in supporting this scheme.
On Tuesday, the Council Executive approved plans for West Lothian Council to enter into formal discussions with the Home Office to progress a phased implementation of the council’s proportionate share of refugees. Further details will be reported back to the Council Executive.
The scheme is seeking to accommodate the same number of persons as the Syrian Refugee Resettlement Scheme and as such the council’s proportionate level of support would be up to 60 persons, and council officers would enter into formal discussions with the Home Office to progress this proposal.
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As with the Syrian scheme, the council will work with Registered Social Landlords and other providers to secure appropriate accommodation for resettled families.
Council leader Lawrence Fitzpatrick said: “The situation in Afghanistan is absolutely tragic and there are so many desperate people in need of help. This is a humanitarian crisis and we have previously helped in the efforts to resettlement Syrian refugees. Our expertise in that area will help us to support the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and we will enter into discussions with the Home Office to find out how we can help.
“This programme is enormous and the challenges faced by councils will be significant. However, these people need not only our compassion but they also need our help. This is an emergency situation and we will do what we can to support the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.”
The Council Executive has also instructed officers to work with local third sector partners, faith groups and other community partners to co‐ordinate a response to support the Afghan refugees who come to West Lothian.