Wigan has welcomed Afghan evacuees to the borough this week as part of the Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme.
The individuals and families, who arrived from a quarantine hotel in Manchester on Wednesday, are temporarily staying at a holding hotel in Wigan while more appropriate, longer-term accommodation is found across the country.
Wigan Council, along with local health and public sector partners, is working with the Home Office to support the ARAP scheme, which launched on 1 April to support the new arrivals. Members of the public health team have already been into the hotel to provide support.
As part of the Government’s Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, 5,000 Afghans will be allowed to settle in the UK, with the long-term goal a total of 20,000. It will focus on women and children as well as religious and other minorities in greater danger from the Taliban.
The Leader of Wigan Council, Cllr David Molyneux, said: “Wigan is a kind and compassionate borough with a strong history of welcoming people seeking asylum. Together with our Greater Manchester partners Wigan welcomes the decision of the UK government to accelerate the relocation of individuals and families who have supported our British Armed Forces in Afghanistan, along with the resettlement plans for Afghan refugees and asylum seekers.
“We can confirm that as part of the Afghan resettlement scheme individuals have started to arrive at a holding hotel in Wigan where they will stay temporarily until permanent residence is found across the country.
“Wigan Council, along with our partners, will do everything possible to help, while recognising the need for a fair offer across the country that takes proportionate account of the support and accommodation already provided by individual Local Authorities to existing asylum seekers.”