USA and the UK
No more humanitarian parole for Afghan refugees
The Biden administration has recently announced that it will no longer offer humanitarian parole to Afghan refugees seeking quick entry to the United States. Starting October 1st, 2022, under the project Enduring Welcome, Afghan nationals who would like to resettle in the United States will have to apply for an immigrant visa in order to enter the country. Afghans who fall under any of the following categories will be allowed to settle in the United States:
- Immediate family members (spouses, unmarried children, parents) of U.S. citizens
- Permanent residents and evacuees who the U.S. government has resettled over the past year
- Individuals who qualify for Special Immigrant Visa (EB-4 Visa) based on their assistance provided to the U.S. forces in Afghanistan
- Refugee program applicants who are considered to be the ‘most vulnerable’
It should be noted that all applicants will need to undergo further visa processing in a third country where there is a working U.S. Embassy or Consulate to process their immigration cases since the United States no longer has a working embassy or consulate in Afghanistan.
A pathway to U.S. legal status
Humanitarian parole, a process that allows quick entry into the United States for individuals who were forced to flee due to violence or catastrophe in their home country, provides for at-risk Afghan nationals to enter the United States where they will be given permission to legally live and work for a period of up to 2 years. However, parole does not offer a pathway to permanent legal status in the United States.
Therefore, by ending humanitarian parole, the Biden administration hopes to end the hassle of further immigration processing at domestic government-operate housing facilities which will be closed starting October 1st.
Processing facilities abroad like the Humanitarian City in the United Arab Emirates will continue to process Afghan evacuees who meet the eligibility criteria for either an immigrant visa or refugee status. Until the new changes occur on October 1st, the USCIS will continue to process and adjudicate humanitarian parole requests.
Afghan settlement in the United States
Since the Taliban quickly took over Afghanistan in August 2021, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has received nearly 50,000 humanitarian parole requests from Afghan nationals who applied from abroad.
Due to the overwhelming number of requests, the USCIS has only been able to make a judgment on less than 20% (less than 10,000 requests). According to USCIS statistics, 95% of those requests were denied.
In total, the United States has so far resettled around 86,000 Afghan nationals into the United States. Of that number, 90% were admitted via the parole process. However, during the 2022 fiscal year, the U.S. has only resettled less than 6,000 Afghans who were approved for a Special Immigrant Visa (EB-4) and 971 Afghans who were approved for refugee status.
Last modified on September 16th, 2022 at 3:19 am
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