‘A well-founded fear of persecution’: Read letter granting Afghan pilot UK asylum in full

Victory for The Independent after five-month campaign backed by military chiefs, politicians and celebrities for pilot’s right to stay in UK

Holly Bancroft
Wednesday 23 August 2023 19:07 BST
The Afghan pilot hero fighting to stay in the UK

An Afghan pilot facing deportation to Rwanda has been granted asylum in the UK in a victory for The Independent and a string of campaigners who ran a tireless campaign fighting for the war hero’s sanctuary.

The air force lieutenant, who served alongside coalition troops, first urged Rishi Sunak to intervene in his case in March after he was forced to flee to Britain from Afghanistan, where he had been in hiding from the Taliban.

Asking Mr Sunak to bring his family – left behind in Afghanistan – to safety, he has also called for the same support for other veterans who served alongside British forces.

The pilot thanked all those who helped in the fight for him to remain in the UK

Scores of military figures, celebrities and figures from across the political divide pledged their support to the campaign, including former head of the British Army Sir Richard Dannatt, former head of Nato Lord Robertson and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

The Home Office has now accepted the pilot’s right to asylum in the UK.

Read the Home Office’s letter in full:

Your protection claim (asylum claim) made on [redacted] 2022 has been successful and you have been granted refugee status and refugee permission to stay in the United Kingdom (UK) until August 2028.

This decision was made in line with the legislation and Immigration Rules which were in force at the time your asylum claim was lodged.

For further information on the Immigration Rules under which your claim has been decided, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/archive-immmigration-rules#2022

This means that we accept you have a well-founded fear of persecution and therefore cannot return to your country of origin, and we have recognised that you are a refugee under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

Your permission to stay ends on Aug 2028. You can apply to extend your stay in the UK and should do so before your current permission ends. Information on how to do this can be found in the ‘Next steps’ section of this notice.

Your conditions

The following are all the conditions of your permission to stay in the UK.

Work condition

You can work in the UK, including paid and unpaid employment, paid and unpaid work placements undertaken as part of a course or period of study, self-employment and engaging in business or any professional activity.

Study condition

You are allowed to study. If you are aged 18 or over, any study is subject to the condition that you must obtain an ATAS certificate, if required to do so under Appendix ATAS of the Immigration Rules.

For guidance on whether you need to obtain an ATAS certificate for your intended study, check https://www.gov.uk/guidance/academic-technology-approval-scheme.

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