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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 March 2019

Afghan interpreters win right to bring their families to Britain

The UK government announced it will scrap immigration rules which separate the interpreters from their partners and children

Interpreters who served with British troops in Afghanistan will soon be reunited with their families. AP
Interpreters who served with British troops in Afghanistan will soon be reunited with their families. AP

Afghan interpreters who risked their lives serving alongside British troops in the fight against the Taliban in Helmand Province have won the right to bring their families to the UK.

Britain’s home secretary Sajid Javid said on Thursday that he was waiving current immigration rules for the interpreters’ loved ones, which required the families to have moved at the same time as the interpreters to qualify for relocation.

The decision, which takes effect in April, means that partners and children of the interpreters still in Afghanistan will be able to travel to Britain to be reunited with their family members.

“Afghan interpreters who served alongside British soldiers played a vital part in our fight against the Taliban,” Mr Javid said.

“We owe these unsung heroes a huge debt of gratitude for their service. That is why we are making it even easier for them to build their future here in the UK with their loved ones.”

Last year, the Home Office announced it was scrapping a £2,398 fee for Afghan interpreters applying for permanent settlement in the UK following pressure by campaign groups.

The Sulha Network, a group working for interpreter’s rights, described Thursday’s decision as “life changing” for the servicemen, some of whom they said were suicidal with grief after being separated from their families.

“There were countless good reasons why wives could not immigrate with their husbands which made the old policy extremely unfair,” the group, which was founded by former British Army captain Ed Aitken, told the Daily Mail.

“Our faith in the Home Office has been restored. The immigration minister Caroline Nokes promised the Sulha Network last October to rectify this injustice. She has been good to her word.

The Sulha Network looks forward to reuniting these families and working to integrate them into British society.”

Updated: March 7, 2019 05:51 PM

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