The Home Office has announced further details of the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme.
The Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme (ACRS) will provide protection for people at risk identified as in need.
The scheme will prioritise:
- those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law
- vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+)
The government has committed to welcome around 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years. We will work with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) to identify those we should help. This is in addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, which has already settled thousands of Afghans who have worked with the UK government, and their families.
Anyone who is resettled through the ACRS will receive indefinite leave to enter or remain in the UK, and will be able to apply for British citizenship after 5 years in the UK under existing rules.
Prioritisation and referral for resettlement will be in one of three ways:
Vulnerable and at-risk individuals who arrived in the UK under the evacuation programme will be the first to be resettled under the ACRS. People who were notified by the UK government that they had been called forward or specifically authorised for evacuation, but were not able to board flights, will also be offered a place under the scheme if they subsequently come to the UK.
Secondly, the government will work with the UNHCR to identify people most at risk and refer them for resettlement, replicating the approach the UK has taken in response to the conflict in Syria.
Finally, the government will work with our international partners in the region to implement a referral process for those inside Afghanistan (where safe passage can be arranged), and for those who have recently fled to countries in the region. This process will likely be affected by the ongoing situation within Afghanistan.
The focus of the ACRS will be on those people who remain in Afghanistan or the region, primarily Afghan nationals although nationals of other countries, for example in mixed nationality families, will also be eligible. Spouses, partners and dependent children under the age of 18 of eligible individuals will be eligible for the scheme. Other family members may be resettled in exceptional circumstances. Unaccompanied children may be offered resettlement where it is determined that resettlement to the UK is in the child’s best interest, and they have been identified as eligible for the scheme. Where a child is unaccompanied it may be in the child’s best interest to remain in the region, where they are more likely to be reunited with their family.
The scheme is not yet open. Please check this page regularly. Further details will be announced in due course.
If you are a British or non-British national in Afghanistan and in need of assistance, view our support page for contact details.