Afghan translators win the right to bring their loved ones to Britain
Afghan translators who helped British soldiers in the fight against the Taliban win the right to bring their loved ones to Britain
- Sajid Javid has said loved ones wouldn’t have to follow normal immigration rules
- Decision could affect 30 interpreters who helped British troops fight the Taliban
- Campaigners said that the new policy change could potentially be ‘life saving’
Abdul Wakil, 33, could finally be reunited with his sons Mustafa and Muzzammel (pictured)
Afghan interpreters given sanctuary in Britain without their families will be reunited with their wives and children.
In a major victory for the Daily Mail, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said their loved ones will be able to join them without having to apply under normal immigration rules.
The decision could affect as many as 30 interpreters who helped British troops fight the Taliban during the 13-year war and have wives or partners back in Afghanistan.
Campaigners said the policy change was ‘life saving’ because some interpreters had been left feeling suicidal with grief after being separated from family.
Mr Javid said: ‘Afghan interpreters who served alongside British soldiers played a vital part in our fight against the Taliban. 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.’
This newspaper’s Betrayal of the Brave campaign has exposed countless scandals in which Afghan interpreters have been abandoned.
Among the cases was that of Abdul Wakil, 33, who came to the UK in December 2015 with eldest son Shakeel, 13, under a Ministry of Defence relocation scheme.
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Former British Army captain Ed Aitken and Mohammad Hares, who served with UK troops for five years and lead the Sulha Network group representing the interpreters, welcomed the changes.
They said: ‘This news will be life saving for those who were suicidal with the grief of 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.
‘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.
Abdul came to the UK in December 2015 with eldest son Shakeel, 13, under a Ministry of Defence relocation scheme
‘The Sulha Network looks forward to reuniting these families and working to integrate them into British society.’ Under current rules, interpreters and their families were required to travel to the UK at the same time for the family members to qualify for relocation. But many of them did not bring their wives and children at the time for any number of reasons.
In some cases their wives had to look after relatives in Afghanistan or the interpreters wanted to sort out a job and a home for their children before they came to the UK.
The changes, which take effect on April 6, remove this requirement so wives and children, or fiancées, or long-term partners who were part of the family before the interpreter relocated, will be able to travel separately. More than 430 interpreters along with their family members have already been relocated in the UK – over 1,200 people in total.
The new rules exclude those who found partners in Afghanistan only after they had moved to the UK.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said the loved ones of Afghan interpreters given sanctuary in Britain will be reunited with them
In May last year the Home Secretary announced that interpreters would no longer have to pay large fees to continue living in the UK in one of his first acts in the new role.
Around 1,100 Afghans – mostly translators and their families – faced being kicked out because their five-year visas were due to expire.
The Daily Mail’s three-year fight for the interpreters scooped the prestigious Campaign of the Year accolade at the British Journalism Awards in December.
Judges at the event, organised by Press Gazette, the journalists’ trade paper, said: ‘The campaign to provide sanctuary in Britain for Afghan interpreters was a classic example of the Daily Mail’s relentless campaigning strength.
‘I’m so happy, it’s a dream come true’
Abdul Wakil last night said he was the ‘richest person in the world’ after learning his family can join him in Britain.
The 33-year-old Afghan interpreter came to the UK in December 2015 with eldest son Shakeel, 13. His wife was denied entry because she did not come over at the same time.
But rule changes that follow a Daily Mail campaign mean she can now come to live with him in Manchester, bringing their younger sons, Mustafa, six and Muzzammel, two. Mr Wakil, pictured, said: ‘The Daily Mail has done such a fantastic job and made our lives. It is a great, huge effort.
‘We would have been waiting a lifetime for this to happen without this change.
‘I’m so happy. I’m the richest person in the world and I can’t explain how happy Shakeel is. It is my dream come true.’
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