Integrating Newcomers: Refugee Policy in Modern-Day Britain

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Integrating Newcomers: Refugee Policy in Modern-Day Britain

20th October 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Following the Taliban’s unexpected takeover of Afghanistan, the UK Government’s has set up a bespoke resettlement route for Afghan citizens at risk of persecution – including those who co-operated with the British Armed Forces. Under the scheme, an initial 5,000 Afghans will be rehomed in the UK (rising to a total of 20,000 under a phased process of resettlement). Since the policy’s announcement, there has been much debate on what should be expected of refugees being resettled in the UK and what is the most effective way to integrate newcomers in a social, cultural, and economic sense. With only one in three local councils signing up to the government’s Afghan relocation and assistance policy, there is also the question of whether the distribution of refugees will be fair on the more deprived and under-resourced parts of the country.

The Henry Jackson Society is pleased to welcome you to join our expert panel who will provide an honest examination of past policy errors and explain how we can maximise the chances of success when it comes to rehoming Afghan refugees in their new society.



Dr Rakib Ehsan sits as a research fellow in the Henry Jackson Society’s Centre on Radicalisation & Terrorism (CRT) and Centre on Social & Political Risk (CSPR). He holds a BA in Politics & International Relations (First-Class Honours), MSc in Democracy, Politics and Governance (Pass with Distinction), and a PhD in Political Science, all obtained from Royal Holloway, University of London. His PhD thesis, which was comprehensively sponsored by the Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC), investigated the impact of social integration on the public attitudes of British non-white ethnic minorities. Establishing himself as a prominent British authority on matters of racial identity and social integration, Rakib has consulted influential UK parliamentarians and policymakers on issues surrounding race relations and community cohesion. He has written on the Taliban’s recent takeover of Afghanistan and the UK’s refugee policy for publications such as The TelegraphUnHerdSp!ked, and The Critic.

Alp Mehmet came to Britain from Cyprus in 1956 aged eight, speaking no English. He was educated at Parmiter’s Grammar School in London’s east end and Bristol Polytechnic.

Alp was an Immigration Officer from 1970 and Entry Clearance Officer at the British High Commission in Lagos from 1979 until 1983, when he transferred to the FCO, serving in Romania, Germany, and Iceland. He retired in 2008 after four years as HM Ambassador to Iceland; the first first-generation immigrant from a Muslim family to be appointed.

Alp has been chairman of Migration Watch UK since July 2019. He was also on the board of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office Association until May 2019, when he stepped down on completion of his second four-year term. Since leaving the FCO, he has sat on the boards of various charities and been involved in a variety of fund-raising projects.

As a speaker and writer on migration, race, and community affairs, Alp regularly appears on TV and radio.

Shabnam Nasimi is a British Afghan social and political activist, commentator, and writer. She is the founder and Executive Director of the Conservative Friends of Afghanistan, a political, business, and diplomatic forum aimed at building a more meaningful and stronger relationship between the UK and Afghanistan. Arrived in the UK at the age of eight with her family as they fled from the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, Shabnam is currently working in political communications and public affairs as an Associate Director. She is also the lead comms/secretariat for the Afghanistan All Party Parliamentary Group, which provides a forum to discuss all aspects of Afghanistan’s development, security, and humanitarian situation to improve HMG’s policies toward the country. Shabnam’s writing has been featured widely in the British press, including The Times, the Spectator, the Telegraph, Foreign Policy and PoliticsHome, among others.


Alan Mendoza is a Co-Founder and Executive Director of The Henry Jackson Society, Britain’s leading thinktank fighting for the principles and alliances which keep societies free. He directs strategy for the organisation as well as acting as its main public face in mediums as diverse as the BBC, Sky, CNBC, Al-Jazeera. Bloomberg, LBC and TalkRadio. On the print side, Alan is a columnist for City AM, London’s business newspaper, and has contributed to The Times, The Telegraph, The Daily Mail, The Sun and a host of international newspapers and magazines.

Having obtained a B.A. (Hons.) and M.Phil in history at Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge, Alan completed a Ph.D. at the same institution. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and was the Parliamentary Candidate for the Conservative Party in the Brent Central Constituency for the 2015 General Election. He is also a Trustee of the President Reagan Memorial Fund Trust.



On the 20th of October 2021, HJS Research fellow Dr Rakib Ehsan chaired a panel to discuss integrating newcomers refugee policy in modern day Britain. The speakers were HJS Research fellow Dr Rakib Ehsan, founder and executive director of the conservative friends of Afghanistan Shabnam Nasami, and Alp Mehmet. All the panellists reflected upon integration of foreigners into British society and debated to what extent they should be expected to adapt. Dr Rakib Ehsan mentioned that speaking the English language affected an individual’s ability to fully integrate into society. Shabnam added to this idea by elaborating in the fact that women, or often wives, were not fluent in English, unlike their husbands, limiting their ability to get a job or an education. This can often lead to women becoming victims in their own homes. The discussion concluded on the thought that we should bind people together, not keep them as separate entities within our society, essentially encouraging integration in modern Britain. 


20th October 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm


United Kingdom


Dr Rakib Ehsan, Alp Mehmet, Shabnam Nasimi


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