Afghans who worked with British army will be able to remain in UK indefinitely
Afghans who worked alongside the British government had previously only been eligible to stay in the UK for five years.
Afghans who worked with UK forces and authorities during the 20-year conflict in the country will be given indefinite leave to remain in Britain, the Home Office has announced.
As part of a scheme called Operation Warm Welcome, Afghans will be able to stay in the UK permanently and will have unrestricted rights to work.
The plan is available to those eligible for the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which has seen thousands of Afghans evacuated to the UK over the last few weeks after the Taliban completed their takeover on August 15. The scheme prioritises those who were deemed to have a serious threat to their life.
More than 15,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since 13 August, of which more than 8,300 are ARAP claimants.
The UK government has also announced that it will give Afghan refugees £12m to help children with their education, £3m to help access healthcare, £5m in housing support for councils and money for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships.
Adults will also be able to access English language courses for free.
Operation Warm Welcome is underway:
➞ indefinite leave to remain for eligible Afghans
➞ £12m for extra school places
➞ 300 undergrad and postgrad scholarships
➞ free English courses for adults
Find out more ➞ https://t.co/FeRmY5BlXM pic.twitter.com/Uyxq6QRZ9A
— UK Prime Minister (@10DowningStreet) September 1, 2021
Services are also being set up to help new arrivals get a National Insurance number and accommodation.
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."