Afghan nationals welcomed to Cardiff and Wales by City Leader


Afghan families, who had to leave their homes behind as they fled the Taliban when their government collapsed, have been welcomed to Wales and Cardiff by the leader of Cardiff Council.

All of these families have connections to Welsh elements of the Armed Forces having worked with or alongside our troops in Afghanistan.

Forty families began arriving in Wales yesterday where they join 10 other Afghan families who have already been welcomed to Wales.

Cardiff Council leader, Cllr Huw Thomas, said: "These families have been forced to leave their homes in fear of their lives, while fleeing the Taliban. It's hard for most of us to imagine just what they've been through. So, for me, it's a privilege to be able to welcome them to Wales and to Cardiff. Cardiff Council has been working behind the scenes all along to ensure we were ready to play our part, alongside all our partners, in alleviating this terrible crisis.

"Cardiff has a long and proud history of welcoming people of all races and creeds to Wales' capital city and we will do everything in our power to ensure these families feel that welcome from day one of their arrival. Many of these families will build new lives across Wales and some will build new lives in the Welsh capital. We welcome them all, knowing that they will soon become important and valued members of our vibrant,multi-cultural community."

The forty families, who have just arrived, will be homed temporarily in accommodation, funded by the Home Office, until they are found new homes across Wales. Each local authority in Wales has committed to taking Afghan nationals and this work is part of a Wales-led response to the crisis.

Cllr Thomas added: "We have been working for some time with Welsh Government, the Home Office and partners, including the health board, the police and others to ensure we play our part in getting this scheme up and running.  Cardiff Council has played a lead role with officers involved from the outset, working on the planning and setting up of arrangements and our teams will be on hand to welcome families that arrive in Cardiff.

"The council will also continue to play a key role, working with families on a daily basis throughout their stay here, providing help and services. Many of these people are highly skilled having worked and directly supported Wales-based and Wales-facing Armed Forces units in Afghanistan over the past 20 years."

The Home Office is meeting accommodation costs and councils will receive full financial support to provide integration and general resettlement support. Welsh Government and the Welsh Local Government Association will lead on the co-ordination and placing of families with all Welsh Local Authorities in line with their commitment to ARAP (Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy).

Cllr Thomas, said: "I'm sure you will all join me in welcoming these families to Wales and will be as proud as I am that we are doing everything we can to help them find a new home and start a new life in Wales - a nation they are already connected with through the work they have done alongside our armed forces. As a city, Cardiff continues to make a significant contribution towards the UK's humanitarian responsibilities to asylum seekers and refugees. This includes hosting one of the highest number of people seeking sanctuary per head of any local authority in the UK.

"Cardiff has also participated in the UK's refugee resettlement schemes since their creation and has consistently delivered on our annual resettlement commitments under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and the United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme.

"Finally, we have been truly heartened by the outpouring of generosity that the people of Wales have shown in wanting to support those arriving from Afghanistan. We want everyone to be able to play their part in the Nation of Sanctuary vision. Right now we are working exceptionally hard with partners to prepare for new arrivals and donations - though well-meaning - may not be able to be received and processed at the moment. However, Welsh Government is working with local authorities and migrant support charities to try to find an efficient and effective way to use these kind offers. All local authorities are working to identify available properties which can be used to accommodate those who have been evacuated. We appreciate the numerous generous offers to give someone shelter in their own homes, but our main need is larger family properties at this time."