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Afghan refugees heading for Britain are being screened for links with radical Islamist groups

Arrivals face checks for Islamist links: Afghan refugees heading for Britain are being screened for links with radical groups under new scheme

  • Security sources said that Afghans who apply for UK visas are vetted for Islamist sympathies and involvement in sex crimes or violent offences
  • But applicants will not be automatically barred from coming to UK if questionable activities emerge in the vetting process 
  • Home Office found ‘very few’ of the 3,300 claims in which applicants pose risk

Afghans who apply to come to Britain are being rigorously checked for links with radical Islamist groups and crime.

But applicants will not be automatically barred from coming here if questionable activities – known as a ‘security triggers’ – emerge in the vetting process.

A scheme has been operating since April to relocate Afghans who worked for the British authorities.

After examining more than 3,300 claims, the Home Office has identified ‘very few’ cases in which applicants pose a national security risk, it is understood.

Security sources said last night that Afghans who apply for UK visas are vetted for Islamist sympathies. Other checks include any involvement in sex crimes or violent offences. But a security source said there were no ‘automatic thresholds’ that would lead to refusal, and each application was decided on a case-by-case basis.

Afghans who apply to come to Britain are being rigorously checked for links with radical Islamist groups and crime. Pictured: Members of the UK Armed Forces help Afghan civilians onto the RAF aircraft in Kabul on Monday 

Evidence of any ‘security triggers’ is weighed up against any possible mitigation, sources said, before a decision is made on whether to allow the applicant into Britain.

Some who have been approved have faced Taliban death threats against themselves or their families. Home Secretary Priti Patel said the vetting process was ‘vital’ and that Home Office staff were working ’round the clock’ to approve Afghans to come to the UK.

She added: ‘Anyone who fails these checks will be refused entry to the UK.’

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the vetting process was 'vital' and that Home Office staff were working 'round the clock' to approve Afghans to come to the UK

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the vetting process was ‘vital’ and that Home Office staff were working ’round the clock’ to approve Afghans to come to the UK

Amid the fast-paced situation in Afghanistan, there is nothing to suggest British jihadis have tried to reach the new ‘Islamic Emirate’, a security source added.

Vetting will be extended to thousands more Afghans who are expected to apply for UK visas under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme announced last night. A Government spokesman said: ‘There are people in Afghanistan who represent a serious threat to our national and public security. We are doing everything we can to resettle Afghan nationals but we will not compromise on security.

‘We have incredibly thorough checks across government and our world-class intelligence agencies. If somebody presents a danger to this country we simply cannot allow them to travel here.’

He added: ‘We have so far resettled over 3,300 Afghan interpreters, staff and their families who served alongside our brave military and our officials are working as quickly as possible to bring more people to safety in the United Kingdom.’

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