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Afghan Chevening students fear deportation from UK

Scholars from the Afghan Chevening scheme worry they may have to return to Afghanistan after graduation, or when their visas expire.

With Afghanistan under Taliban control since 2021, Afghan scholars studying in the UK are stuck in a state of limbo. One student has even expressed concern of persecution, stating she would be ‘hanged in front of everybody’ for being unmarried and pursuing human rights law.

Initially, the Home Office suggested scholars should return or go to a third country. However, they now say students can apply for a graduate visa, or claim asylum.

One scholar has said that might not be good enough:

‘The problem, for instance, with the graduate visa is that it has a very high fee, and I don’t think many of the Chevening scholars would be able to pursue that route.

‘But even if I manage to borrow some money, it is only for two years. I want to be assured that after this period, I wouldn’t be forced to leave.’

Claiming asylum also comes with downsides; reaching a decision for asylum cases can take one to three years, and during this time, they would not be able to work or find accommodation.

The Chevening scholarship scheme provides students who have the potential to become future leaders and decision makers a chance to study at UK universities. These are primarily one-year master’s courses.

Chevening scholars are ‘the best and brightest,’ says Neil Coyle, MP for Bermondsey and Old Southwark. ‘Ministers must end their debilitating quagmire and grant leave to remain in the UK.’

Image courtesy of Farid Ershad
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