Afghans who helped British forces to be offered indefinite leave to remain in the UK

Afghans who worked with the UK will be given indefinite leave to remain, the Home Office has announced.

People from Afghanistan who worked alongside the British government and army were previously only eligible for five years of temporary residency.

Now – as part of a scheme called Operation Warm Welcome – they will be able to stay in the UK permanently, giving them unrestricted rights to work.

The plan is available for those eligible for the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP).

This prioritises those who were deemed to have a serious threat against their life now the Taliban controls Afghanistan.

More than 15,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since 13 August, of which more than 8,300 are ARAP claimants.

All arrivals are also offered the COVID vaccine.

More than 700 of those who have arrived in the UK are already jabbed and out of quarantine.

As well as the indefinite leave to remain, the UK government has said it will provide the following:

• £12m to help children with their education

• £3m to help people access healthcare

• £5m in housing support for councils

• Money for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships – with adults also able to access English language courses free of charge.

There will also be services to help new arrivals get National Insurance numbers, accommodation, and the creation of an online portal so offers of support can be registered.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We owe an immense debt to those who worked with the armed forces in Afghanistan and I am determined that we give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK.

“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.”

The newly appointed Afghan Resettlement minister, Victoria Atkins, told Sky News: “Over the last two weeks alone we’ve evacuated some 15,000 people to our country and, of course, since April we’ve evacuated more people who have done right by us.

“They’re the people who, on the ground over the last 20 years, have been working with our soldiers helping to protect them, helping to translate, helping to make our embassies and other areas work.

“So the prime minister’s commitment is absolutely clear to this – they have done right by us, we want to do right by them.”

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme is still being developed, with the aim of taking in up to 20,000 refugees from Afghanistan.

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