Refugees: Afghanistan

Home Office written question – answered on 21st March 2022.

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Photo of Geoffrey Cox Geoffrey Cox Conservative, Torridge and West Devon

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what her Department's policy is on ensuring that those who assisted UK efforts in Afghanistan are referred to the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme; and what assessment she has made of the potential merits of expanding the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy to include applicants who were not directly employed by UK armed forces.

Photo of Kevin Foster Kevin Foster The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK. This includes those who supported the UK and international community effort in Afghanistan, as well as those who are particularly vulnerable, such as women and girls at risk and members of minority groups.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be some of those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals. From Spring, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will refer refugees to the scheme, based on assessments of protection need.

In Year One, we will also resettle individuals who supported the UK and international community effort in Afghanistan, including those British Council and GardaWorld contractors and Chevening alumni who are most at risk. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be in touch with those eligible to support them through the next steps.

There will not be an application process for the ACRS. More detail on the three referral pathways can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy was expanded in December 2021 to accommodate individuals not directly employed by UK armed forces.

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