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Written Question
Refugees: Cyprus
20 Jan 2022

Questioner: Lord Hylton (CB - Excepted Hereditary)

Question

To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any refugees are present on the territory of the British sovereign bases in Cyprus; if so, how many; and what plans they have for the resettlement of any such persons.

Answered by Baroness Goldie

The Sovereign Base Areas Administration informs me that there are no refugees recognised by the Administration present in the territory of the Sovereign Base Areas.

It is possible that refugees, recognised by the Republic of Cyprus, could be present within the jurisdiction of the Sovereign Base Areas on Cyprus, because there are no immigration controls between the Republic of Cyprus and the Sovereign Base Areas, and persons afforded refugee status by the Republic of Cyprus may move freely throughout the island.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with stakeholders on converting void and disused properties into accommodation for Afghan refugees currently in bridging hotels.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Operation Warm Welcome is a significant cross-government effort, working with local authorities, NGOs and the commercial sector, and will continue over the coming months to ensure those evacuated from Afghanistan can settle permanently, contribute to their communities and rebuild their lives here in the UK. The UK Government will continue to work with our international partners and use every lever at our disposal to fulfil our moral obligations, and we will provide a warm welcome to those who have fled persecution.

We are engaging with Local Authorities and housing organisations to explore options to meet the need for housing. We are working closely with Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities and other stakeholders to identify a range of alternative accommodation options to minimise the use of hotels and enable people to get into accommodation which enables them to settle into their new lives in the UK as quickly as possible.

DLUHC have created a new Housing Portal to make it easier for councils to assess the suitability of properties prior to contacting landlords. Offers of property are triaged by DLUHC and sent directly to councils. We are also looking at ways to make more suitable homes available in the private rental sector by engaging with landlords, letting agencies and industry bodies to promote the housing portal and encourage participation in the resettlement programme. We are also working with the Estate Agent Rightmove to identify potential properties available in the private rental sector.

There is a huge effort underway to get families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels have access to healthcare, education, any essential items they need as well as employment opportunities or Universal Credit.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We expect that whilst the hotel estate will reduce, there will be an ongoing need to provide temporary housing in hotels for a small number of families for several months. Where possible we prioritise matching properties to certain categories including those that are pregnant and have given birth.

As of the (6 January 2022), the latest available data shows there are over 12,000 people in around 80 bridging hotels. While work is ongoing to resettle families permanently as quickly as possible, they are receiving the necessary support required to integrate into society.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, for what reason Afghan refugees who have given birth have been returned to a bridging hotel rather than rehomed.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Operation Warm Welcome is a significant cross-government effort, working with local authorities, NGOs and the commercial sector, and will continue over the coming months to ensure those evacuated from Afghanistan can settle permanently, contribute to their communities and rebuild their lives here in the UK. The UK Government will continue to work with our international partners and use every lever at our disposal to fulfil our moral obligations, and we will provide a warm welcome to those who have fled persecution.

We are engaging with Local Authorities and housing organisations to explore options to meet the need for housing. We are working closely with Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities and other stakeholders to identify a range of alternative accommodation options to minimise the use of hotels and enable people to get into accommodation which enables them to settle into their new lives in the UK as quickly as possible.

DLUHC have created a new Housing Portal to make it easier for councils to assess the suitability of properties prior to contacting landlords. Offers of property are triaged by DLUHC and sent directly to councils. We are also looking at ways to make more suitable homes available in the private rental sector by engaging with landlords, letting agencies and industry bodies to promote the housing portal and encourage participation in the resettlement programme. We are also working with the Estate Agent Rightmove to identify potential properties available in the private rental sector.

There is a huge effort underway to get families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels have access to healthcare, education, any essential items they need as well as employment opportunities or Universal Credit.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We expect that whilst the hotel estate will reduce, there will be an ongoing need to provide temporary housing in hotels for a small number of families for several months. Where possible we prioritise matching properties to certain categories including those that are pregnant and have given birth.

As of the (6 January 2022), the latest available data shows there are over 12,000 people in around 80 bridging hotels. While work is ongoing to resettle families permanently as quickly as possible, they are receiving the necessary support required to integrate into society.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to identify accommodation for Afghan refugees.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Operation Warm Welcome is a significant cross-government effort, working with local authorities, NGOs and the commercial sector, and will continue over the coming months to ensure those evacuated from Afghanistan can settle permanently, contribute to their communities and rebuild their lives here in the UK. The UK Government will continue to work with our international partners and use every lever at our disposal to fulfil our moral obligations, and we will provide a warm welcome to those who have fled persecution.

We are engaging with Local Authorities and housing organisations to explore options to meet the need for housing. We are working closely with Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities and other stakeholders to identify a range of alternative accommodation options to minimise the use of hotels and enable people to get into accommodation which enables them to settle into their new lives in the UK as quickly as possible.

DLUHC have created a new Housing Portal to make it easier for councils to assess the suitability of properties prior to contacting landlords. Offers of property are triaged by DLUHC and sent directly to councils. We are also looking at ways to make more suitable homes available in the private rental sector by engaging with landlords, letting agencies and industry bodies to promote the housing portal and encourage participation in the resettlement programme. We are also working with the Estate Agent Rightmove to identify potential properties available in the private rental sector.

There is a huge effort underway to get families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels have access to healthcare, education, any essential items they need as well as employment opportunities or Universal Credit.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We expect that whilst the hotel estate will reduce, there will be an ongoing need to provide temporary housing in hotels for a small number of families for several months. Where possible we prioritise matching properties to certain categories including those that are pregnant and have given birth.

As of the (6 January 2022), the latest available data shows there are over 12,000 people in around 80 bridging hotels. While work is ongoing to resettle families permanently as quickly as possible, they are receiving the necessary support required to integrate into society.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps he has taken to ensure that the Warm Welcome initiative continues for refugees who remain in bridging hotels.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Operation Warm Welcome is a significant cross-government effort, working with local authorities, NGOs and the commercial sector, and will continue over the coming months to ensure those evacuated from Afghanistan can settle permanently, contribute to their communities and rebuild their lives here in the UK. The UK Government will continue to work with our international partners and use every lever at our disposal to fulfil our moral obligations, and we will provide a warm welcome to those who have fled persecution.

We are engaging with Local Authorities and housing organisations to explore options to meet the need for housing. We are working closely with Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities and other stakeholders to identify a range of alternative accommodation options to minimise the use of hotels and enable people to get into accommodation which enables them to settle into their new lives in the UK as quickly as possible.

DLUHC have created a new Housing Portal to make it easier for councils to assess the suitability of properties prior to contacting landlords. Offers of property are triaged by DLUHC and sent directly to councils. We are also looking at ways to make more suitable homes available in the private rental sector by engaging with landlords, letting agencies and industry bodies to promote the housing portal and encourage participation in the resettlement programme. We are also working with the Estate Agent Rightmove to identify potential properties available in the private rental sector.

There is a huge effort underway to get families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels have access to healthcare, education, any essential items they need as well as employment opportunities or Universal Credit.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We expect that whilst the hotel estate will reduce, there will be an ongoing need to provide temporary housing in hotels for a small number of families for several months. Where possible we prioritise matching properties to certain categories including those that are pregnant and have given birth.

As of the (6 January 2022), the latest available data shows there are over 12,000 people in around 80 bridging hotels. While work is ongoing to resettle families permanently as quickly as possible, they are receiving the necessary support required to integrate into society.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
19 Jan 2022

Questioner: Rachael Maskell (LAB - York Central)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with NHS property services on repurposing vacant NHS property to home Afghan refugees, including if it needs to be retrofitted.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

Operation Warm Welcome is a significant cross-government effort, working with local authorities, NGOs and the commercial sector, and will continue over the coming months to ensure those evacuated from Afghanistan can settle permanently, contribute to their communities and rebuild their lives here in the UK. The UK Government will continue to work with our international partners and use every lever at our disposal to fulfil our moral obligations, and we will provide a warm welcome to those who have fled persecution.

We are engaging with Local Authorities and housing organisations to explore options to meet the need for housing. We are working closely with Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities and other stakeholders to identify a range of alternative accommodation options to minimise the use of hotels and enable people to get into accommodation which enables them to settle into their new lives in the UK as quickly as possible.

DLUHC have created a new Housing Portal to make it easier for councils to assess the suitability of properties prior to contacting landlords. Offers of property are triaged by DLUHC and sent directly to councils. We are also looking at ways to make more suitable homes available in the private rental sector by engaging with landlords, letting agencies and industry bodies to promote the housing portal and encourage participation in the resettlement programme. We are also working with the Estate Agent Rightmove to identify potential properties available in the private rental sector.

There is a huge effort underway to get families into permanent homes as soon as we can so they can settle and rebuild their lives, and to ensure those still temporarily accommodated in hotels have access to healthcare, education, any essential items they need as well as employment opportunities or Universal Credit.

The length of time that a family will remain in bridging hotels is dependent on a number of factors including the availability of appropriate housing. We expect that whilst the hotel estate will reduce, there will be an ongoing need to provide temporary housing in hotels for a small number of families for several months. Where possible we prioritise matching properties to certain categories including those that are pregnant and have given birth.

As of the (6 January 2022), the latest available data shows there are over 12,000 people in around 80 bridging hotels. While work is ongoing to resettle families permanently as quickly as possible, they are receiving the necessary support required to integrate into society.


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Statement by the Minister for Afghan Resettlement on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, 6 January 2022, Official Report, column 185, whether discussions are taking place with (a) Qatar, (b) Pakistan, (c) other third-party countries to facilitate safe passage from Afghanistan to the UK for (i) Chevening Scholars and (ii) British Council and GardaWorld contractors; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Statement by the Minister for Afghan Resettlement on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, 6 January 2022, Official Report, column 185, how Afghan nationals at risk, who are not Chevening alumni or British Council or GardaWorld contractors, can ensure their details are recorded and considered for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme as part of the third referral pathway from within Afghanistan; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Statement by the Minister for Afghan Resettlement on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, 6 January 2022, Official Report, column 185, what measures will she put in place to ensure that undocumented Afghan national family members of British nationals in third countries, can make family member visa applications without delay; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Statement by the Minister for Afghan Resettlement on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, 6 January 2022, Official Report, column 185, how many people currently outside of the UK the Government plans to resettle in the first year of that scheme.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, from what date does the first year of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme start.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Statement on 6 January 2022 on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), Official Report, col. 185, if she will take steps to set up an ACRS implementation group (a) with the aim of ensuring the ACRS is run with an understanding by staff of Afghanistan’s particular (i) cultural, (ii) security (iii) gender concerns, and (b) to include the expertise of (iv) women from the region with knowledge of the (A) cultural, (B) socio-religious and (C) geopolitical context of Afghanistan and (v) people working on the ground with those in need of UK assistance; and if she will make a statement.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees: Afghanistan
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Caroline Lucas (GRN - Brighton, Pavilion)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to the Statement on 6 January 2022 on the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), Official Report col. 185, how many (a) Afghan nationals who are already in the UK and (b) British nationals evacuated from Afghanistan (i) have been and (ii) will be resettled under ACRS.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

Due to the success of our emergency evacuation and the larger than anticipated number of people brought over to the UK, we will exceed our initial aim of 5,000 people resettled in the first year of the ACRS. There are around 6,500 people in the UK who have been brought to safety during and after the evacuation who are eligible for the ACRS.

British nationals who have a right of abode in the UK will not be resettled under the ACRS. However, we are supporting those British Nationals who have been assisted by Her Majesty’s Government to the UK.

In addition to those already in the UK, we are working with the UNHCR to receive referrals of vulnerable refugees in need of protection in year 1 of the ACRS, and we will continue to receive referrals to the scheme in coming years. In the first year we will also offer ACRS places to the most at-risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni. Beyond the first year of the ACRS, we will work with international partners and NGOs to welcome referrals of wider groups of Afghans most at risk. There will not be an application process.

The ACRS provides those at risk with a route to safety through three distinct referral routes and has been designed with partners, including the UNHCR, with whom we are designing the referral route for refugees outside of Afghanistan.

The Government will continue to work with international partners to seek to facilitate the travel of those eligible for resettlement in the UK.

Family members of British citizens and settled persons who were not called forward during the evacuation of Afghanistan, or who have not been offered resettlement under the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, will need to apply to come to the UK under the existing economic or family migration and reunion rules. They will be expected to meet the eligibility requirements of their chosen route, which may include paying relevant fees and charges, and providing their biometrics.

The family Immigration Rules also allow a person to enter a spouse or partner visa if a couple have been in a relationship akin to marriage and have resided together for a two-year period prior to the application date. The two-year period does not have to be the immediate two years prior to the application date.

Information for those wishing to apply to enter or remain in the UK as a spouse or partner is available on GOV.UK at: https://www.gov.uk/uk-family-visa/partner-spouse

A full policy statement on this matter published on 13 September 2021 can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement/afghanistan-resettlement-and-immigration-policy-statement-accessible-version

Further information on the opening of the ARCS can be found in the Oral Statement https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/oral-statement-on-the-afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme


Written Question
Refugees
18 Jan 2022

Questioner: Barry Sheerman (LAB - Huddersfield)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to ensure that the provisions in the Nationality and Borders Bill help to integrate refugees into UK society.

Answered by Tom Pursglove

The Nationality and Borders Bill is the cornerstone of the New Plan for Immigration, which sets out the Government’s intentions to build a fair but firm asylum system.

The New Plan for Immigration announced a package of measures to improve integration support so that refugees arriving under safe and legal routes are fully supported to become self-sufficient and integrate well into society. The Enhanced Integration Package will deliver a package of tailored support, such as language training, skills development and employment support to help refugees rebuild their lives. More details will be released on this package in due course. New plan for immigration: legal migration and border control strategy statement (accessible web version) - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Refugees coming to the UK through the safe and legal routes our resettlement schemes provide will be granted indefinite leave to remain on arrival, providing them with the certainty and stability they need to rebuild their lives in the UK.


Written Question
Afghanistan: Refugees
17 Jan 2022

Questioner: Sarah Green (LDEM - Chesham and Amersham)

Question

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, when her Department plans to contact vulnerable Afghans to inform them that they are eligible for the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

Answered by Victoria Atkins

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) commenced on 6th January. The ACRS will provide up to 20,000 women, children and others at risk with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK.

The first to be resettled under the new ACRS will be some of those already evacuated and in the UK. They include women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British Nationals.

From Spring, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) will refer refugees to the scheme, based on assessments of protection need.

In Year One we will also resettle individuals who supported the UK and international community effort in Afghanistan, including those British Council and GardaWorld contractors and Chevening alumni who are most at risk. The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office will be in touch with those eligible to support them through the next steps.

There will not be an application process for the ACRS. More detail on the three referral pathways can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme.