Iraqi interpreters coming to Australia
I only saw this item flashing briefly across the TV screen, but it’s an issue that has been vigorously debated in the UK and over at Crooked Timber. The new Australian government, which is withdrawing combat troops (though not some troops guarding our embassy) from Iraq, has announced that Iraqis who have worked with Australian forces in Iraq will be offered resettlement in Australia. The estimated number of Iraqis to receive visas, including family members, is 600. Australia had only about 500 troops on average, so that gives an idea of the scale of commitment that might be expected from the UK and US if they met their obligations in a comparable fashion.
The decision to accept the interpreters ahead of other refugees has been criticised, but I think this is justified. The essential point should be to treat this intake as additional to, rather than part of, our general obligation to accept refugees.
On the same point, this Times story indicates that the first three workers to be accepted under the much more restrictive British program have finally arrived in the UK, and that the program has so far delivered visas to a total of 12 Iraqis and their families. The total estimated intake is 2000.