British Nationals, Military Personnell and Locally Employed Staff
The safety of British Nationals, deployed military personnel, and Afghans who risked their lives working alongside the UK is the Government’s top priority.
The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, launched on 1 April 2021, offers any current or former locally employed staff, who are assessed to be under serious threat to life, priority relocation to the UK. This scheme has already supported over 3,300 former Afghan staff and their families to start new lives in the UK, with more than 2,000 arriving over the last few weeks alone. 5,000 former Afghan staff and their family members are expected to be relocated to the UK by the end of this year under this scheme.
We are deploying 900 troops and civilian personnel to the region to provide support to Operation Pitting. They will provide force protection and logistical support for the relocation of British nationals as well as Afghan interpreters, staff, and their families. More are being deployed and held at readiness if needed.
British nationals returning to the UK are being supported by the FCDO rapid deployment team, they are specifically trained to deal with crisis situations. They will work alongside Ambassador Laurie Bristow, who has remained in Kabul throughout, to support British nationals’ repatriation.
The Government is establishing a new route for Afghan citizens - prioritising women and girls - who have been forced to flee their home, or face threats of persecution from the Taliban, to set up home in the UK permanently. This is in addition to existing programmes and routes already established and in operation.
The Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme will resettle thousands of Afghans and 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. 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 UK has a proud history of welcoming those fleeing persecution or oppression, and this country will continue to stand by the Afghan people in their hour of need.
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 is in addition to the 5,000 Afghans we expect to relocate to the UK this year under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy. The complex picture on the ground means there will be significant challenges delivering the scheme, but the Government is working at speed to address these obstacles.
I appreciate concerns for Nowzad - Pen Farthing, his Afghan staff, and the vulnerable animals in their care. I welcomed the PMs assurance to Parliament on 18 August that the Government is doing all it can to help the Nowzad organisation, and others who face similar difficulties. I understand the Foreign Office are in contact with them to discuss what support they can provide.
All those who served in Afghanistan over the past 20 years should be proud of their achievements. If you are struggling as a result of the recent events in Afghanistan, there is support available for veterans across the United Kingdom here.
Home Office Factsheet
The Home Office have produced a factsheet on resettlement routes for Afghan nationals including contact details which can be found here.
Offers of assistance
Hampshire County Council are working with local partners including Borough councils, the NHS, support providers and local charities to assist Afghan families moving to the UK to re-settle as part of the Government’s Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) programme. You can find out more about donations through Community First and more information here.