Responding to the urgency of the situation in Afghanistan

20 August 2021: From a number of members of the QARN Steering Group:

We understand the urgency of the situation for those fleeing Afghanistan, and also those already in UK who are in the asylum process, or living in the hidden economy without papers at this time.

The situation also provokes us to act, and thoughts in Meetings are turning to offering sponsorship to those who will be brought to UK having been assessed as very vulnerable under the scheme put in place by the UK Government.

These schemes appear attractive to people wanting to do something. They can also bring a range of difficulties to the people offered support, and those offering to help.

People must make their own decisions and there will be others with experience amongst members of the QARN network.

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We need new routes to safety immediately

Updated 13 August 2021: Care4Calais: We now know that made the young Eritrean man who died in the sea off Calais yesterday so desperate to leave France.

The 27-year-old had been staying in camp near Calais. In recent days the police were aggressive and violent, taking tents and belongings and harassing people so they could no longer stay even in this rough camp.

In the police’s wake came the smugglers, offering the only way out – a dangerous trip in a small, overloaded boat across the world’s busiest shipping channel.

It takes a lot of luck to make that journey. The Eritrean couple’s luck ran out. There were 37 in their boat, a hopeless overloading. Just off the coast, in choppy conditions, it began to take on water.

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Stop the deportations

Updated 3 September 2021: Guardian: Home Office spent almost £9m on deportation charter flights in 2020

The Home Office spent almost £9m on deportation charter flights last year, the Guardian has learned, including more than £500,000 for planes that never left the tarmac.

At least 828 people were removed by air, more than double the 410 removed on similar charters in 2019. The department spent £8.2m on 47 charters to 24 countries in 2020, with 18 of those countries in Europe.

The Home Office no longer provides specific figures when there are fewer than 10 people on a flight. Eleven of the flights had fewer than 10 people on board, meaning the exact number is unclear.

Ministers also paid £575,748 for five flights that never took off – two to Spain, two to Pakistan and one to Somalia. Officials say that they paid less than the usual cancellation costs on these flights as some flights could be rebooked or rescheduled.

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