News Roundup: 2/19/08

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In what could be a model for future American policy, ThisIsLondon reports that Britain will soon be enacting a lite version of the so-called “Guam Option” – airlifting Iraqi allies to a military base and processing their asylum applications there:

Up to 1,500 Iraqis are to be airlifted to Britain after ministers agreed to grant sanctuary to the interpreters who worked for [British] forces. In a multi-million pound operation starting in April, the translators and their families will be flown here in groups of 100 every fortnight until the autumn. They will be transported in military planes to an RAF base in the South-East where they will be processed by immigration officials.

Sweden and Iraq have signed an agreement that “allows Sweden to send back Iraqi nationals whose asylum applications have been rejected”.

“…’some 400 Iraq nationals were immediately affected’ by the agreement inked in Iraq. The deal means that failed asylum seekers will no longer remain ‘in limbo,’ [Migration and Asylum Policy Minister Tobia] Billstrom told Swedish radio news…

AFP reports on a Swedish town adapting to the heavy influx of refugees.

Jordan has announced it will waive overstay fees for Iraqis who want to leave the country. Alertnet reports:

Most refugees have overstayed their visas by several years, reported the Interior Ministry, amassing fines of thousands of dollars each. There is a fee of 1.50 Jordan Dinar (US$ 2) for each day of overstay… Only those Iraqis who return home or leave to a third country are exempt from the fines. Those wishing to stay in the Kingdom have only two months to pay 50 per cent of their dues if they are to avoid becoming permanently ineligible to be considered for residency status in the future.

Meanwhile, the European Union has just pledged 9 million euros (13.2 million USD) for new health aid for Iraqi refugees.


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