How UK's Afghan resettlement scheme will work

Minister gives MPs details of plans to co-operate with national bodies and international agencies

Passengers from Afghanistan disembark from an RAF plane at an airbase in southern England. AFP
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Victoria Atkins, British Minister for Safeguarding and Afghan Resettlement, provided more information in the Commons on Monday about how the UK’s schemes to help those fleeing the Taliban will work.

Afghans who worked with the British government and military, and other refugees seeking sanctuary, will be supported under two schemes – the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap) and the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS).

Ministers said the government would work with the UN’s Refugee Agency, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), to identify those most at risk and help resettle refugees who have fled Afghanistan “based on their protection and humanitarian need”.

Measures set out by the Home Office said that councils who support those under the schemes will receive £20,520 per person, over three years, for resettlement and integration costs.

Also, £4,500 per child will also be provided for education, £850 to cover English language courses for adults, and £2,600 to cover healthcare.

The Afghan Housing Costs Fund will be increased from £5 million to £17m and run for two additional years to help local authorities provide housing.

Nationals of other countries, such as mixed nationality families, will be eligible for the resettlement scheme.

The spouses, partners and dependent children aged under 18 of eligible individuals will also qualify, with other relatives considered in exceptional circumstances.

Unaccompanied children will be accepted where resettlement in the UK is “in their best interest”, for example, if they cannot be reunited with family elsewhere.

The Department for Work and Pensions will launch surgeries across the country, run by staff with translators, to help answer questions on employment or benefits for those arriving in the UK.

Refugees arriving under the schemes will be eligible for social housing and homelessness support, be able to claim benefits such as Universal Credit and also have an immediate right to work upon entry.

In a letter to all councils in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Home Secretary Priti Patel and Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick have asked for more to come forward to offer places for people arriving from Afghanistan.

Updated: September 13, 2021, 7:16 PM