Go back

Prioritise return of Afghan scholars, says UCU


Union urges government to ensure UK-funded researchers can resettle in the UK

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office must prioritise the processing of visas for Afghan citizens who have been working on UK-funded research, the University and College Union has said.

In a letter to foreign secretary Dominic Raab, the union’s general secretary Jo Grady says Afghan citizens who had “risked their lives to advance the global research base” should be helped to resettle in the UK as a matter of urgency.

After the rapid collapse of the Afghan government and the takeover by the Taliban, fears have been growing for the safety of those who have links the UK and US and who were unable to leave during the chaotic evacuation via the capital Kabul last month. This includes many researchers and students, as well as translators and security personnel.

“UK researchers, working on UK-funded global research, have been working in close partnership with Afghan citizens to advance the UK’s international development agenda,” writes Grady. “They risked their lives working on the ground conducting fieldwork in areas of policy and practice that the Taliban see as a threat to their interests and agenda.”

Their association with UK research makes them eligible for resettlement in the UK through the government’s Afghan Relocation Assistance Policy, she says. “We therefore urge the UK government to act decisively and ensure that all opportunities for equation by land, initially to neighbouring countries, are utilised.”

Research Professional News has approached the foreign office for comment.