The government has revealed details of how its plan, dubbed Operation Warm Welcome, to help Afghans rebuild their lives in the UK would work.
Former Afghan staff and their family members eligible for the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap), which prioritises relocation to the UK for current or former locally employed staff who have been assessed to be under serious threat to life, will be given immediate indefinite leave to remain as opposed to only five years’ temporary residency as previously permitted.
Those who have already been relocated in the UK with temporary residency can now upgrade their immigration status for free, allowing them access to permanent jobs with unrestricted rights to work.
What the Prime Minister said
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 UK has already evacuated more than 15,000 people since August 13, of whom more than 8,000 are Arap claimants.
More than 100 councils have come forward to help families find homes, with more than 2,000 places already confirmed, the Home Office said.
All arrivals are being offered the coronavirus vaccine and, so far, more than 700 arrivals have left quarantine and received their first dose of the jab.
What the government has pledged
The Government has also pledged the following as part of Operation Warm Welcome:
– £12 million to help enrol children in schools quickly, to help with transport, specialist teachers and English language support;
– £3 million will go towards helping families access healthcare and register with a GP;
– £5 million so councils can provide housing support;
– Funding for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghans at UK universities and adults will also be able to access English language courses free of charge;
– Liaison officers to help families get in touch with councils and other services they may need, as well as help them find accommodation and get a National Insurance number;
– An online “portal” so offers of support, such as jobs, accommodation and donations of clothing and toys, can be registered.
A version of this article originally appeared on NationalWorld.com