Access to justice

Afghans at risk urgently need viable UK visa and asylum process

Clarification is needed now on UK entry clearance for people at risk under the new Taliban rule in Afghanistan, the Law Society of England and Wales said today.

“A growing number of solicitors are being contacted about people whose lives are in danger in Afghanistan and who have no viable or safe way to apply for or exercise potential rights to travel to the UK,” Law Society president I. Stephanie Boyce said.

“Anyone who wants to apply for entry to the UK from Afghanistan has to get to Pakistan or India to provide biometrics before their application will be considered. This creates a near impenetrable barrier to seeking sanctuary and urgently needs to be rethought.

“To avoid the need for people to make multiple and dangerous journeys the biometric requirement should be waived for those unable to travel safely to a Visa Application Centre and provisions made for applications and decisions in principle.

“This change needs to be made as quickly as possible. The distinct Afghanistan resettlement scheme must also be designed to eliminate any such practical barriers and to move at a greater pace than originally conceived.

“We urge the Home Office to introduce flexibility in how and when biometrics can be provided and clarity on how that flexibility will be exercised in practice so people in Afghanistan have a viable, safe way to make an application for entry to the UK.”

Notes to editors

Read our press release about legal professionals at risk in Afghanistan

About the Law Society

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Press office contact: Harriet Beaumont | 0208 049 3854 | 07900 203307

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