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Ceredigion to take part in resettling Afghan refugees that were employed by the UK Government

CEREDIGION County Council announced today that it has signed up to the Home Office scheme to resettle ‘Locally Employed’ Afghans who are at risk of reprisals by the Taliban.

The scenes unfolding in Afghanistan demonstrate the invaluable role the international community must play in protecting people displaced by war, persecution, and political instability. The UK government have agreed to fund a scheme that helps Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) who have worked for the UK and risked their lives alongside British forces in Afghanistan over the past twenty years to relocate to the UK.

Following an executive decision by the Leader of the Council and relevant Corporate Director, Council officers are closely liaising with the Welsh Local Government Association, who are coordinating the resettlement process across Wales. An emergency Refugee Resettlement Group meeting has been arranged to co-ordinate Ceredigion’s humanitarian assistance to the unfolding crisis.

The scheme will support those who are at high and imminent risk of threat to life and also those who worked for the British Government in roles that made a material difference to the delivery of the UK mission in Afghanistan, without which operations would have been adversely affected. Examples of these roles include patrol interpreters, cultural advisors, embassy services and political and counter-terrorism jobs.

The Council is anticipating that accommodation can be found in the private rental sector within our communities. The accommodation should be of a suitable standard, self-contained, include adequate kitchen and bathroom facilities and will need to be available for a minimum of 12 months. The rent will be paid at Local Housing Allowance (housing benefit) level.

Councillor Ellen ap Gwynn is Ceredigion County Council’s Leader and is the Chair of the Ceredigion Refugee Resettlement Group. She said: “The humanitarian crisis that is taking place in Afghanistan is very distressing, and one can only imagine the despair and fear of those who worked for our Armed forces and UK Government departments and schemes during the last 20 years, as they desperately try to flee the Taliban. As such, it was an easy decision to make an executive decision to bring at least one family to our county.

I know that the Community in Ceredigion will rally around and provide a welcome as soon as we are able to identify a suitable property. I have been privileged to witness how the people of Ceredigion have welcomed over 60 Syrian refugees into our midst over the last six years, and I have no doubt that we will provide our Afghan allies with the same warm Welsh welcome and assistance. I urgently ask the community for their assistance in finding accommodation for these families. We will also be exploring other options. “

A Cabinet meeting will be held on 7 September to discuss the Council’s position on Afghan LES resettlement.

The Council is inviting the community to identify any self-contained properties in the private sector that may be available, as well as exploring other possible options. If you can help or would like more information, please get in touch with our Contact Centre on 01545 570881 or clic@ceredigion.gov.uk and ask for the Refugee Resettlement Coordinator.

photo credit: Elkanah Evans

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