UK plans to resettle 20,000 refugees over five years


26 August 2021

The current crisis in Afghanistan, which has dominated the news over the past few weeks, follows the US and UK’s withdrawal from the country.

The Afghan resettlement scheme was announced on 18 August 2021 and will give priority to women, children and religious minorities who are most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment under Taliban rule. Those who have been forced to flee their home or face threats of persecution from the Taliban will be offered a route to set up home in the UK permanently.

The UK government plans to resettle 5,000 Afghan nationals in the first year, which will be kept under review for future years and will allow up to 20,000 in the long-term.

The scheme is similar in size to one for Syrians under which 20,000 people have been resettled since 2014. The population of Afghanistan is double that of Syria, but it is a step in the right direction.

This new scheme is in addition to the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) which is intended to help those who assisted the UK forces throughout their presence over the past 20 years.

The resettlement scheme is not yet open for applications and pressure is growing to expedite the opening of the route as the ability to leave Afghanistan is expected to be vastly reduced if US troops fully withdraw as planned on 31 August 2021. Developments on this are continuous as the scenario develops and more announcements are expected in due course.

This article is from the August 2021 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts' Immigration Team.

The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at August 2021.

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