We owe a debt of gratitude to all those who worked to make Afghanistan a better place over the last 20 years. It is the case that many of these people, particularly women and children, are now in urgent need of help. The United Kingdom has a proud history of welcoming those fleeing persecution and oppression, and I know that the British people will always stand by those in the world in their hour of need.
I am also pleased to inform you that the DWP is supporting those arriving from Afghanistan as part of Operation Warm Welcome, including earlier access to benefit and employment support. We have been working tirelessly to provide tailored support through our Jobcentre Plus work coaches to help those on these schemes access the support available for them. More information of the Department’s work can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/support-for-those-arriving-from-afgh…
I can assure you that we in the Department for Work and Pensions will continue to look at how best to support people during this time.
More broadly, thousands of Afghan women, children and others most in need have been welcomed to the UK. The Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme is one of the most generous resettlement schemes in the history of the UK. The route is modelled on the successful Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement scheme, which resettled 20,000 Syrian refugees over a 7-year period from 2014 to 2021. 5,000 people will be resettled in the scheme's first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years.
The first to be resettled under the ACRS will be those already evacuated and in the UK. This includes women’s rights activists, journalists, and prosecutors, as well as the Afghan families of British nationals. The Government is supporting those British nationals who have been assisted by His Majesty’s Government to the UK as well as their families who require such help as it is recognised that they experienced the same trauma and have the same needs as their Afghan neighbours fleeing Kabul alongside them.
Funding will also be made available to resettle Afghan refugees. This includes £20,520 per person for local authorities who resettle Afghan families, with an additional £17 million available for housing costs and an extra £20 million pot of flexible funding. Local councils and health partners who resettle families will receive up to £4,500 per child for education, £850 to cover English language provision for adults requiring this support, and £2,600 to cover healthcare.
I would like to reassure you that this new scheme is separate from, and in addition to, the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which offers any current or former locally employed staff who are assessed to be under serious threat to life priority relocation to the UK. Around 9,000 people alone have already been helped by this scheme.
I understand that there have been concerns about facilitating the resettlement of family members of Afghans who have come to the UK under Relocation schemes. I am aware that so far the Government has brought almost 23,000 vulnerable people to safety, including thousands of people eligible for the relocation schemes. This is a complex situation which presents the Government with significant challenges, including securing safe passage out of the country for those who want to leave - and who are eligible for resettlement in the UK.
More information on the Afghan Resettlement Scheme can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme