In a recent development, Pakistan has initiated a large-scale operation to identify and deport approximately 1.7 million illegal immigrants, starting from November 1, 2023. The operation aims to address the issue of illegal immigration within the country. As a result, many Afghan nationals have chosen to return to their homeland.
According to Pakistan's interior minister, this operation specifically targets illegal Afghan immigrants, while refugees under the protection of the United Nations (UN) will not be affected. The government has emphasized its commitment to differentiating between illegal immigrants and UN-backed refugees.
In light of this operation, the Government of Pakistan has requested assistance from the U.S. Embassy in compiling a list of Afghan nationals who have pending applications for travel or immigration processes with the United States. The purpose of this list is to prevent the potential arrest and deportation of these individuals from Pakistan. Moreover, those on the list will receive support in obtaining exit permits once their processing is complete and they are ready to depart.
To ensure protection from deportation and facilitate a smooth departure after successful processing, the Pakistani government has been provided or will be provided with the names, dates of birth, and nationalities of the individuals. This information allows them to remain in Pakistan until their cases are processed. Afghan nationals are advised to keep a letter, which will be attached to the message, along with their passport and Pakistani visa at all times. It is recommended to make physical and digital copies of these documents and store them separately in secure locations. If questioned by Pakistani authorities, individuals should present this letter, which serves as verification of their temporary status.
It is important to note that the attached letter may not include all family members on the case, especially if their information was not provided at the time of referral. However, individuals will have the opportunity to add missing family members to their case during the prescreening interview at the U.S. Embassy. All family members, regardless of whether they are named in the letter, should be protected from arrest, detention, or deportation.
In case of immediate protection threats or safety concerns, it is advised for individuals to contact the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) protection helpline. The UNHCR can provide further assistance and guidance in such situations. Additionally, refugee applicants who have relocated to another country should reach out to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at PIC@iom.int, providing their USRAP Case Number, new location, and updated contact information. This will ensure a smooth transfer of their case to the appropriate processing office.
As the operation to deport illegal immigrants continues in Pakistan, Afghan nationals are urged to remain vigilant and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety and well-being. The situation remains dynamic, and individuals are encouraged to stay informed and seek support from relevant authorities and organizations.
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For more information on immigration, resettlement, education and scholarship programs, and other opportunities available to Afghans worldwide, as well as details on the humanitarian services provided by international organizations in Afghanistan and procedures for obtaining civil documents from governmental institutions, please visit Beporsed's website and social media pages.