How will Afghans be able to rebuild their lives in the UK?

The Government has launched a plan dubbed Operation Warm Welcome to help Afghans and their families rebuild their lives in the UK.

Victoria Atkins has been appointed the new Minister for Afghan Resettlement and will oversee the work.

– What has happened?

The Government said this is part of efforts to “ensure that those who worked closely with the British military and UK Government in Afghanistan, and risked their lives in doing so, get the vital health, education, support into employment and accommodation they need to fully integrate into society.”

Modern Slavery Act
Victoria Atkins has been appointed the new Minister for Afghan Resettlement (David Parry/PA)

– How will it work?

While further details are yet to be revealed, so far the Government has said the support provided will be similar to that offered as part of the previous established Syrian Resettlement Programme.

This will include setting up a “central portal” where offers of support, such as jobs and donations of clothing and toys, can be registered.

Free English language courses will also be provided.

It comes after £5 million was given to councils to provide housing support, and vaccinations were offered to everyone arriving as well as access to mental health and trauma support.

– How many people could come to the UK as a result?

Some 5,000 former Afghan staff and their family members are expected to be relocated to the UK by the end of this year under what is known as the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (Arap).

This offers priority relocation to the UK for current or former locally employed staff who have been assessed to be under serious threat to life.

– What else has the Government promised to do?

It has pledged to take up to 20,000 Afghan refugees, with as many as 5,000 in the first year, who were forced to flee their home or face threats of persecution from the Taliban under what the Home Office claims will be “one of the most generous” resettlement schemes in the UK’s history.

Under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, they will be offered the chance to set up life in the UK permanently.

Priority will be given to women and girls, and religious and other minorities, who are most at risk of human rights abuses and dehumanising treatment by the Taliban, the Home Office said.

– How will it work in practice?

Detail is limited as the plans are still being developed.

But the project is being modelled on the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), which took place over a seven-year period, working with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) which facilitates resettlement.

The Government is expected to work with devolved administrations and councils to ensure Afghans have accommodation and access to services.

Officials insist national security will not be compromised and anyone being processed through the scheme will still need to pass strict checks.

To view this content, you'll need to update your privacy settings.
Please click here to do so.

– Did the Syrian resettlement scheme work?

Charities and officials alike generally regard the Syrian resettlement scheme as a success.

A total of 20,080 Syrian refugees have started a new life in the UK since 2015 as a result, according to figures published earlier this year.

Those who were escaping conflict in Syria were assisted by the Government as part of its work with the UNHCR to identify people, including women and children, at risk and victims of torture.

They were granted refugee status with full rights to live and work, and provided with housing and support, and help to integrate into their new communities.

– What if more help is needed?

The Government said it will keep the resettlement scheme under review, with Home Secretary Priti Patel suggesting the programme could be expanded if needed and hinting that the number admitted in the first year could double.