The co-chairs of the all-party parliamentary group for international students have written to the prime minister to urge him to “secure safe passage” for 35 Chevening Scholars in Afghanistan.
Prime minister Boris Johnson told Sky News, on 15 August, the government would do “whatever we can to accelerate their visas to get them over”. The Chevening Scholarships bring international students with leadership qualities to UK universities to study year-long masters degrees.
Critics decried the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) for reportedly telling Afghanstani Chevening Scholars to delay their studies because they could not process their visas in time, raising concern for their safety.
Yesterday our co-chairs @Lord_Bilimoria and @PaulBlomfieldMP wrote to @BorisJohnson and @pritipatel urging them to do everything possible to support this year’s @CheveningFCDO winners from as well as any other international student from Afghanistan who wish to study in the UK. pic.twitter.com/NonL3Al4Y9
— APPG Int’l Students (@APPGIS) August 17, 2021
Chairs Karan Bilimoria, a crossbench peer, and Paul Blomfield, Labour MP for Sheffield Central, urged the government “to do everything possible to support this year’s Chevening Scholarship winners from Afghanistan”, as well as any other students destined for the UK.
The letter underlined the importance of international students, “particularly Chevening scholars”, to higher education and the UK economy.
“We support your personal intervention in this matter and urge you to do everything possible to support both these 35 students and any other international students from Afghanistan to receive their visas so they can travel to the UK,” Lord Bilimoria and Blomfield concluded.