If you are an Afghan already living in Scotland, the rapidly changing situation in Afghanistan may mean your own personal circumstances have changed and/or new evidence has come to light. Your legal representative will advise you on your options. Consider seeking legal advice if:
You want to claim asylum
You already claimed asylum and are waiting for a decision
You have appealed against a refused asylum claim
You have applied for a fresh claim or considering a fresh claim
You are refused asylum and are appeal rights exhausted
You have got a removal decision from Home Office
You have a temporary visa such as a student visa, and are concerned about your safety upon return to Afghanistan
Where to find legal advice on immigration and asylum matters?
If you are destitute, on a low income and/or in receipt of social security, you may be able to get Legal Aid to pay for legal advice in Scotland. The legal representative will be able to help with this and apply for Legal Aid on your behalf.
If you are concerned about your loved ones in Afghanistan and would like to find out information on how to get help for family members and friends still in Afghanistan, seek legal advice to explore what routes are open to them.
Speak to your legal representative about the refugee family reunion route, if you have refugee or humanitarian protection status. If you are living in Glasgow you can contact the British Red Cross as well to find out if you can - get help to apply for a family reunion visa. Please note there may be significant delays with your Family reunion applications due to families in Afghanistan facing challenges providing biometric information.
Check with your legal representative what other immigration routes may be open to family members.
Please visit the UK Government information page for the type of assistance offered and helpline numbers for British and non-British nationals still in Afghanistan.
Read the Refugee Council information summary on Support and information for people affected by the crisis in Afghanistan here.
Read the British Red Cross information page on Humanitarian Aid in Afghanistan here.
Read the UNHCR Afghanistan information page on Help for refugees and asylum seekers and information for Afghans fleeing to other countries here. UNHCR Afghanistan’s page also has information on Support in Afghanistan and information on Relocation programmes in different countries.
The ex-gratia scheme started in 2013 to offer training, financial assistance (in-country) and relocation offers limited to Afghans who worked directly for the UK Government on or after 1 May 2006 and had worked for more than 12 months when they were made redundant or resigned. You can read about the UK Government’s information on Afghanistan Locally Employed Staff Ex-Gratia Scheme here. If you think you are eligible for relocation under this scheme, the UK Government strongly recommends that you apply under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP).
Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)
Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) was launched on 1 April 2021 to offer relocation or other assistance limited to any current and former locally employed staff who are at risk of serious threat to life in Afghanistan, regardless of their role, employment status and length of service. If you think you are eligible, you can apply from any country including Afghanistan. You can read the UK government’s information on the ARAP scheme here.
Afghan Citizens Resettlement scheme
This scheme aims to resettle Afghans who are at risk of persecution and identified as in need of protection, including those who assisted the UK government efforts to promote democracy and rule of law in Afghanistan for example judges, journalists, politicians, activists and those who are at risk because of sexual orientation, gender, ethnic and religious identity. The scheme opened on 6 January 2022. It is important to note that there is no application process for this scheme which means you cannot apply for this scheme. Find out more about the UK government’s Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme and the selection process here.
The UK Asylum system
The UK is a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and has an asylum system for people who have fled persecution and who need to claim asylum in the UK. You have to be in the UK to claim asylum.
If you are in Scotland:
Phone Migrant Help’s Helpline 0808 8010 503 (request an interpreter) for information about Home Office asylum support and assistance with making asylum applications.
Phone the Scottish Refugee Council’s Helpline 0808 196 7274 (request an interpreter) for initial advice, information and advocacy.
Seek legal advice from a qualified legal representative.
We have received so many kind offers of practical support from groups and individuals across Scotland in recent weeks. To help coordinate all your generous offers of assistance, we’ve started an Afghan Support Network. You can register your offer of support here. We’ll then work to match these offers with the needs of Afghan refugees arriving in Scotland and the local authorities that are welcoming them over the coming weeks and months.