Afghan relocations and assistance policy

F.P. Report
WASHINGTON: On 29 December 2020, the Defence Secretary and Home Secretary announced the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP). This scheme offers relocation or other assistance to former Locally Employed Staff (LES) in Afghanistan to reflect the changing situation in Afghanistan. The ARAP launched on 1 April 2021 and remains open.
If any former LES believe they qualify, they should apply by using the online application form. They will be eligible to apply from any country (including Afghanistan and regardless of their employment status, rank or role, or length of time served.
The following summarises the eligibility criteria for the ARAP and the terms of the offers themselves. The scheme does not recognise an obligation, or imply a commitment, to assist locally employed staff in other countries or theatres of operation, past, present or future. There are four categories for assistance, against which all ARAP applications are assessed.
There is no benefit to individuals in submitting duplicate applications unless specifically requested by the ARAP team.
All applications received can be amended by the team if more information is received, as well as be retrieved if additional information is presented which would change an eligibility decision.
Where an applicant who was directly employed by, or contracted to, an HMG Government Department or Unit was dismissed from their job they will be ineligible for relocation to the United Kingdom under ARAP (except in circumstances where HMG considers that the person was dismissed for a minor reason). The cohort eligible for urgent relocation comprises of employees of Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) who are assessed to be at high and imminent risk of threat to life.
The cohort eligible for relocation by default comprises of those who were directly employed by HMG, or those who were contracted to provide linguistic services in support of the UK’s Armed Forces, on or after 1 October 2001.
The nature of the applicant’s role must have been such that the UK’s operations in Afghanistan would have been materially less efficient or materially less successful if a role of that nature had not been performed. Furthermore, the applicant’s role must have exposed them to being publicly recognised as having performed that role and, as a result of that public recognition, their safety is now at risk.
Examples of such roles are patrol interpreters, cultural advisors, certain embassy corporate services, and development, political and counter-terrorism jobs, among others. This is not an exhaustive list, nor are all those who worked in such roles necessarily eligible by default.
The cohort eligible for other support are those who are neither assessed to be at high and imminent risk of threat to life nor eligible by default due to holding exposed meaningful enabling roles. This cohort are eligible for all other support short of relocation as deemed suitable by the ARAP team.
The cohort eligible for assistance on a case-by-case basis are those who: on or after 1 October 2001 were directly employed in Afghanistan by an HMG department; provided goods or services in Afghanistan under contract to an HMG department; or worked in Afghanistan alongside an HMG department, in partnership with or closely supporting that department; and in the course of that employment or work or provision of services they contributed to the UK’s military objectives or national security objectives (which includes counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics and anti-corruption objectives) with respect to Afghanistan; and because of that employment or work or provision of services, the person is or was at an elevated risk of targeted attacks and is or was at a high risk of death or serious injury; or hold information the disclosure of which would give rise to or aggravate a specific threat to HMG or its interests. Checks will be made with the HMG department or unit by whom the applicant was employed, contracted to or worked alongside, in partnership with or closely supported or assisted.
The Relocation Offer is based on recognition of service and an assessment of likely current and future risk to applicants due to the nature of their work for or alongside HMG in the evolving situation in Afghanistan. Applicants can apply from any country, including Afghanistan.
Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for relocation under the ARAP will have the opportunity to apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK. Applicants already in the UK with temporary status under ARAP can apply, free of charge, to convert their status to indefinite leave to remain.
Eligible applicants will be able to bring certain family members with them to the UK. The eligibility criteria for family members and dependants seeking to accompany those relocating under the ARAP can be found in the Immigration Rules: Eligible applicants will be sent further detail of the criteria relating to family members and dependants in their ARAP offer letter.
If you are deemed ineligible under ARAP, you have the right to seek a review of your decision if: you believe the decision was not made in accordance with the policy; and/or you can supply new evidence to support your case that was not available when the decision was made.
Applicants who are deemed ineligible and receive an outcome letter advising them of this may seek a review of the decision within 90 days of receipt or, for those whose application was refused prior to 05 December 2021, 90 days from 16 February 2022, save for where there are compelling circumstances which have prevented them from meeting this deadline.
You have one right of review of your initial outcome decision. Further requests for review may be assessed on an exceptional basis if you provide compelling new evidence that was not available when the initial decision was made, or when the review was undertaken.
The UK has a proud record of providing protection for people who need it, in accordance with our obligations under the Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. However, there is no provision within our Immigration Rules for someone to apply to come to the UK to seek asylum, temporary refuge, or humanitarian protection. Whilst we acknowledge the complex situation in Afghanistan, the UK is not required to consider asylum or protection claims from the very large numbers of people overseas who might like to come here. Those who need international protection should claim asylum in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.
Under the UK’s new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), the Government will resettle more than 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years. The scheme will prioritise: members of Afghan civil society who supported the UK and international community effort in Afghanistan and vulnerable people, including women, girls and members of minority groups at risk. The Scheme does not have an application process and will be managed by a referral process. Further information is available on the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme guidance page on the website.
There are additional safe and legal routes for people to come to the UK, for example should they wish to join family members here, or for work or study.?They would need to meet the requirements of the relevant Immigration Rule under which they were applying to qualify for a visa and meet the requirements to provide any biometrics and pay any relevant fee (or obtain the necessary waiver). Details about the criteria and how to apply are available on the website.