Information on the legal status accorded to Afghan refugees who have been recognized as refugees by the UNHCR and on their rights and obligations they are accorded [IND24436.E]

The government of India does not recognize Afghans who reside in India as refugees (Country Reports 1995 1996, 1316). They have no legal status and officially are not permitted to work in India (World Refugee Survey 1996 1996, 99).

According to the World Refugee Survey 1996, Afghans are granted "renewable residence permits" by the Indian government (ibid.). They are usually not deported and are "recognized as refugees by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR)" (ibid.). Through the aid of UNHCR, Afghan refugees are provided with cash assistance, a primary education and counselling services in India (ibid.).

The 1993 World Refugee Report states that the "official Indian government policy is that all refugees, whether those it protects or those under UNHCR's mandate, are allowed temporary refuge only in India" (1993,187). However, the same source states that the government "does not offer permanent resettlement to refugees granted temporary asylum elsewhere" (ibid.).

According to the Travel Information Manual, alien residents of India who wish to return can obtain re-entry permits before leaving the country (July 1996, 117). The source states that these permits "are issued by the consulate of India abroad" and that "prior authorization has to be arranged before departure from India" (ibid., 176). The Passport Act of 1967 states that alien residents cannot depart from India without travel papers such as an identity document (Goodwin-Gill 1978, 30; World Refugee Survey 1996 1996, 93).

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the DIRB within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum.


Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 1995. 1996. United States Department of State. Washington, DC: United States Government Printing Office.

International Law and the Movement of Persons Between States. 1978. Goodwin-Gill, Guy. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Travel Information Manual. July 1996. International Aviation and Transportation Association (IATA).

World Refugee Report. 1993. Washington, DC: Bureau for Refugee Programs Department of State.

World Refugee Survey 1996. 1996. Washington, DC: Immigration and Refugee Services of America.