After five months of delay, the UK’s resettlement scheme for people from Afghanistan (ACRS) finally opened yesterday (January 6).

Up to 20,000 people will be supported to live in safety in the UK via this scheme.

While we welcome news that the resettlement programme has finally opened, we are concerned about the strict limitations around who is eligible to apply for help under this scheme, and that it will leave  many thousands of people still at risk of harm in Afghanistan and neighbouring countries.

We are also shocked that the UK government plans to count people who are already in the UK – those who were evacuated from Kabul along with British forces in August –  within the 20,000 ‘new’ places offered by the scheme.

Resettlement programmes are an important way of providing routes to safety. But they must be inclusive, accessible and open to those most in need of help.

We will work with partners in Scotland to provide any support necessary to those arriving under this scheme and we will look closely at the detail of the rights and type of status conferred under the scheme.

We will also continue to support all Afghans seeking safety after undergoing independent and often extremely dangerous journeys to flee the country and seek refugee protection. This is still by far the most common way people escape violent regimes and seek asylum under the 1951 Refugee Convention.

You can read our factsheet on the different Afghan Relocation and Resettlement Schemes here.

Full and up to date details of ACRS is available from the UK Government website.

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Pauline D
Author: Pauline D