UPDATED THURSDAY 2 SEPTEMBER
The Armed Forces, MoD, FCDO and Home Office staff have worked incredibly hard in very difficult circumstances to bring out over 13,000 people over the last two weeks. This number includes British nationals and their dependants, Afghans who worked for the UK government and military and their dependants, and other Afghans who are at particularly high risk.
Coordinating an International Response
- The Prime Minister spoke to NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg and UN Secretary-General António Guterres and called for meetings of NATO’s North Atlantic Council so that the international community can take a unified approach on Afghanistan both in terms of the future of the country and in working to prevent a humanitarian and refugee crisis.
- The Prime Minister and the French President have agreed that the UK and France should work together at the UN Security Council, including on a possible joint resolution.
- The Government is working with the UN, NATO and other allies to stress the importance of any recognition of a new Afghan Government taking place on a joint, rather than unilateral basis.
- The UK has already doubled the amount of humanitarian aid to the region, committing up to £286 million with immediate effect, and we will continue to urge international partners to match our commitment.
- The G7 agreed to produce a roadmap for engagement with the Taliban and agree standards they must be held to, including protecting women’s rights and ensuring humanitarian access. All agreed on the need for unity of message and purpose amongst the international community, and the UK will continue to lead this effort.
Safe Passage for Afghan Refugees
Afghanistan Citizens Resettlement Scheme
- The UK is establishing the new Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, for thousands of Afghan citizens to set up home in the UK permanently, prioritising those most at risk from the Taliban.
- The Government’s ambition is to welcome up to 5,000 Afghans to the UK under the new Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme in its first year, with up to a total of 20,000 in the long-term.
- This new route is modelled on the successful Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, which resettled 20,000 Syrian refugees over a seven-year period from 2014 to 2021.
- The new route will not compromise on national security and any person arriving on the route will have to pass the same strict security checks as those resettled through other schemes.
- Further detail about when and how to access the ACRS, including eligibility criteria, will be available on the Home Office website in due course.
- The Government has also provided thousands of Afghans asylum in the UK and many Afghan nationals have come to the UK to work and study under the Points-Based Immigration system.
Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
- The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy Offers any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life priority relocation to the UK.5,000 former Afghan staff and their family members are expected to be relocated to the UK by the end of this year under ARAP.
- ARAP was developed last autumn, approved by the National Security Council in the New Year and came into effect on 1 April. It subsumed the two previous schemes, under which we had relocated almost 1,400 people since 2014.
- The Home Secretary is changing the Immigration Rules to enable ARAP eligible people who have already left Afghanistan to apply to relocate to the UK from a third country, and has published updated
guidance on how additional cohorts of family members can come to the UK alongside the principal applicant
- This weekend the Home Secretary allowed applicants who have been biometrically screened to return with the remainder of case work to be completed in the UK, and to remove the need for applicants to have an Afghan passport.
- So far, 2052 ARAP eligible persons have been flown from Afghanistan on MOD-chartered commercial flights, with a further 2,000 Afghan applications completed and many more being processed.
- When people are relocated under the ARAP reach the UK they are taken to a quarantine hotel, where they are provided with medical, welfare and other support, and offered COVID vaccinations.
- Further guidance on the ARAP eligibility criteria can be found here.
British Employees in Afghanistan
- The UK has deployed 900 military personnel and other officials to facilitate the departure of British Nationals and Afghan staff. They will provide force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals as well as Afghan interpreters, staff, and their families, and more are being deployed and held at readiness if needed.
- The FCDO has rapidly deployed a team of officials trained to deal with crisis situations to Kabul. They will work alongside Ambassador Laurie Bristow, who has remained in Kabul throughout, to support British nationals in Afghanistan to return safely to the UK.
- The UK is also working urgently to see what assistance can be provided for Afghan nationals who have not worked directly for the UK but have supported UK objectives in Afghanistan and make be at risk as a result.
Women and Girls
- The Afghanistan Citizen’s Resettlement Scheme will prioritise women and girls, and religious and other minorities, who are most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban.
- The UK has made it clear that the Taliban must protect and uphold human rights, including those of women, girls and minorities – and that they can expect to face sanctions or the suspension of Overseas Development Assistance if they commit human rights abuses.
- The Foreign Secretary has travelled to Doha meet the Amir of Qatar and the Qatari Foreign Minister and discuss the prospect of reopening Kabul Airport.