Afghans who worked for the British military and UK government will be able to move to the UK permanently, the Home Office has announced. Those eligible will be given indefinite leave to remain, rather than the five years’ residency previously offered.
The UK evacuated more than 8,000 people eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy from 13 August. British troops left Afghanistan over the weekend, bringing to an end the UK’s 20-year military involvement in Afghanistan.
Announcing more details of its plan called Operation Warm Welcome, the Home Office said it wanted to ensure Afghans arriving in the UK received help to rebuild their lives.
The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is for former locally employed staff and their families whose lives had been assessed to be under serious threat from the Taliban.
The government said those who had already been relocated in the UK with temporary residency could now upgrade their immigration status, allowing them access to permanent jobs with unrestricted rights to work.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK owed an immense debt to those who worked with the armed forces in Afghanistan.
“I am determined that we give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK,” he said.
“I know this will be an incredibly daunting time, but I hope they will take heart from the wave of support and generosity already expressed by the British public.”
Victoria Atkins, who has been appointed Afghan Resettlement minister, said it was a “huge effort” across government to make sure those fleeing Afghanistan were able to make a success of a new life in the UK.
“The stability of indefinite leave, the security of access to healthcare and the opportunity of education are the foundation upon which those resettled to the UK can build.”