We are asking our supporters to write to their MP and MSP urging them to put pressure on the UK government to enable 20 Afghan medical students to come to the UK to complete their studies. The information on this page can be used to form the basis of a letter to your MP or MSP. However, please use your own words as much as possible – this will have more impact.
I write to ask for your support for the Linda Norgrove Foundation, who are looking to bring 20 female Afghan medical students to Scotland to complete their studies.
The Linda Norgrove Foundation is a Scottish charity set up by the parents of Linda Norgrove, who was killed in Afghanistan in a failed rescue attempt by US forces in 2010.
The Foundation was supporting 165 female students, 96 studying medicine, when the Taliban stopped women from attending universities last December.
When the UK Government announced in 2021 that they intended to bring 20,000 Afghan refugees to the UK, the Foundation proposed that 20 of their top medical students could travel to Scotland to complete their studies. The five Scottish medical schools are very supportive of this proposal and all agreed to offer them places. The Scottish Government is also fully supportive.
The issue is that the route for these students to enter the UK should be through the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS). This would allow the students to enter the UK, take their places at Scottish universities, and be entitled to pay ‘home fees’ (rather than the overseas fees of £50,000 a year).
There is, however, no sign of the relevant ARCS pathway opening. The UK government said it would open within a year, which would have been in January 2023, and then August 2023. But there is still no sign of this opening.
These women are desperate to complete their studies having gone from being trainee doctors to house help, consigned to cooking, cleaning and looking after children. Some aren’t even allowed to leave the house without a male chaperone, some fear for their lives, and others are likely to be married off to older men against their will. They are in utter despair, some are even suicidal, and desperately need your help.
Can you put pressure on the government to allow these women to come to the UK to complete their studies?