Afghanistan resettlement scheme – Changes to Immigration Law

The UK formally opened the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) on 6 January 2022

The scheme will prioritise:

  • Those who have supported the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for ideals such as democracy, rule of law, freedom of speech, and women’s rights.
  • Vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk.
  • The government will resettle more than 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years.
  • Anyone who is resettled through the ACRS will receive indefinite leave to enter or remain (ILR) in the UK and will be able to apply for British citizenship after 5 years in the UK under existing rules.

There is no application process for the ACRS. Prioritisation and referral for resettlement will be in one of 3 ways:

  1. Vulnerable and at-risk individuals who arrived in the UK under the evacuation programme will be the first to be settled under the ACRS. Eligible people who were notified by the UK government that they had been called forward or specifically authorised for evacuation, but were not able to board flights, will also be offered a place under the scheme if they subsequently come to the UK. The first Afghan families have been granted ILR under the scheme.
  2. Secondly, from spring 2022, the UNHCR will refer refugees in need of resettlement who have fled Afghanistan. The UNHCR has the global obligation to provide international protection and humanitarian assistance to refugees.
  3. The third referral pathway will relocate those at risk who supported the UK and international community effort in Afghanistan, as well as those who are particularly vulnerable, such as women and girls at risk and members of minority groups. In the first year of this pathway, the government will offer ACRS places to the most at risk British Council and GardaWorld contractors, and Chevening alumni.

We at Bond Adams can support you whether you are a British or non-British national in Afghanistan and in need of assistance, please contact one of our staff in the Immigration team at either of our offices in Birmingham or Leicester for further information.