To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many Afghan citizens have been granted resettlement under Pathway 2 of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme to date; what discussions she has held with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on its processes for assessment of Afghan citizens under that scheme; what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the UNHCR's processes; and if she will take steps to encourage the UNHCR to expedite its consideration and referral of cases to that scheme of vulnerable Afghan nationals based in Pakistan.
The latest Immigration System Statistics, year ending December 2022 (published on 23 February 2023), show that since their first arrivals in 2021, the Afghan schemes – the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) and the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) - have resettled a total of 21,387 people.
Under the scheme’s second pathway, which opened in 2022, we have now begun to receive the first referrals from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) of vulnerable refugees who have fled Afghanistan for resettlement to the UK. The latest Immigration statistics show that we have now welcomed the first people to the UK under Pathway 2.
We anticipate receiving referrals from UNHCR for up to 2,000 refugees during the first year of pathway 2, although this number will be kept under review.
UNHCR refer those who qualify as refugees in need of resettlement. They have access to detailed case information – which is gathered during interviews conducted during the different stages of resettlement processing – and they have a detailed knowledge of the circumstances refugees face in host countries.
If UNHCR consider that an individual should be referred to the UK for resettlement, they will send the Home Office a Resettlement Registration Form (RRF) which confirms that the individual has been determined by UNHCR to be a refugee and details the reasons why that person is in need of resettlement.