Video of Afghan doctor projected on UK parliament buildings
An Afghan NHS doctor projected a video message on the UK parliament criticising the government's "New Plan" for immigration for World Refugee Day on Sunday.
Dr Waheed Arian, who works on the frontline tackling Covid-19, sent an "urgent message" to the British people against immigration reforms that would penalise illegal immigrants by beaming a video of himself onto the parliament building.
Arian said he would not have become an NHS doctor if the government's new laws were enforced because he arrived in the UK aged 15 from Afghanistan without adequate documentation.
"I am very proud to have been working shoulder to shoulder with my NHS colleagues serving people against Covid-19 on the frontline. But this would have not have been possible under the government’s new plan for immigration," he said in the video.
UK Home Secretary Priti Patel's "New Plan" for immigration seeks to curb illegal immigration by using someone's means of arrival to decide whether they should be granted refuge in the UK.
Freedom From Torture, a London-based charity and producers of Arian's video message, called the plans "cruel and inhumane" as thousands of immigrants arrive in the UK through unauthorised, often the only way to flee violence and persecution.
The charity said the new laws will criminalise asylum seekers and, in worst-case scenario, result in boats being turned back in the English Channel containing refugees from conflicted-affected areas.
After arriving in the UK from Kabul, Arian studied medicine at Cambridge and was awarded the UN's Global Hero Award by Patel.
"I brought nothing with me except a hope for safety and a dream to become a doctor," he said.
Arian's video to the people of the UK was broadcast on the same week Dido Harding, the former head of Test and Trace, vowed to end the UK's reliance on foreign doctors and nurses if she becomes head of the NHS.
"There are many others like me with their own hopes and dreams who are also in need of safety and your kindness," said Arian.