Afghan refugees will receive permanent residency visas
Boris Johnson has announced that Afghan refugees arriving in the UK via the Afghanistan Resettlement Scheme will receive permanent residency. The prime minister told the House of Commons that the refugees will be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.
Indefinite Leave to Remain is a form of settled status that allows overseas nationals to live, work and study in the UK permanently. After living in the UK for 5 years with Indefinite Leave to Remain, refugees can be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
Johnson also announced that 300 university scholarship would be made available to Afghan refugees as well as free English courses.
What is the Afghanistan Resettlement Scheme?
In response to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan last month the UK government announced a new refugee resettlement scheme aimed at protecting people at risk in Afghanistan. The Afghan Citizen’s Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) is now the 5th refugee resettlement scheme operating in the UK.
5,000 refugees are expected to be issued visas under the new scheme in 2021, with the Home Office promising resettlement for a further 15,000 Afghan refugees in the next three years.
The scheme will prioritise certain people, Boris Johnson said:
“We are upholding Britain’s finest tradition of welcoming those in need and I emphasise that under this scheme we will of course work with the UN and aid agencies to identify those we should help,”
“We will also include Afghans who have contributed to civil society or who face a particular risk from the Taliban, for example, because of their role in standing up for democracy and human rights, or because of their gender, or sexuality or religion.”
Evacuation of Afghanistan completed
The UK’s last military flight left Kabul on 28th August after evacuating over 15,000 British nationals and Afghans from the country in two weeks.
However, over 300 eligible people have reportedly been left behind with the foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, admitting he was not sure of the exact number of people left behind.
Since then, the foreign secretary has called on the Taliban to open Kabul airport so that those eligible to come to the UK can have safe passage.
Boris Johnson has also warned that the Taliban must adhere to international obligations if they wish to access state funds that are currently held overseas. He said:
“Our first duty is the security of the United Kingdom and if the new regime in Kabul wants international recognition and access to the billions of dollars currently frozen in overseas accounts, then we and our friends will hold them to their agreement to prevent Afghanistan from ever again becoming an incubator for terrorism…And we shall insist on safe passage for anyone who wishes to leave, and respect for the rights of women and girls.”
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