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HomeImmigration & VisaWhat is the Afghan Relocations & Assistance Policy (ARAP) to the UK?

What is the Afghan Relocations & Assistance Policy (ARAP) to the UK?

Further information on eligibility criteria, offer details and how to apply

UK

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) is for Afghan citizens who worked for or with the UK Government in Afghanistan in exposed or meaningful roles and may include an offer of relocation to the UK for those deemed eligible by the Ministry of Defence and who are deemed suitable for relocation by the Home Office.

Afghan citizens who are eligible for relocation to the UK under the ARAP may relocate with a partner, dependent children and additional family members who are also deemed eligible for relocation under the ARAP by the Ministry of Defence and suitable for relocation by the Home Office.

The ARAP was launched on 1 April 2021 and remains open. It follows the former intimidation policy (in place from 2010 to 2013), and ex-gratia scheme (in place between 2013 and 30 November 2022).

Those who believe they are eligible under the ARAP should apply by using the online ARAP application form. This application can be made from any country.

A translated guide to this application form in Dari / Pashto is available. Please note that the application form at the link above must be used to submit your application.

When an ARAP application is made by an Afghan citizen, eligibility is initially considered by the Ministry of Defence, followed by a request for information about, and an eligibility decision on, their family members who are included in their application. Previously applicants were provided 90 days in which to respond to requests for information. From 11 April 2023 applicants have 42 days to respond to requests for information sent by the Ministry of Defence. Failure to respond will result in a rejection of an application. Where an Afghan citizen and their family members are eligible for relocation to the UK, an application is made to the Home Office on their behalf, under the ARAP Immigration Rules. An application under the ARAP will not be considered as an application for entry clearance, permission to stay or settlement on any other basis, including outside the Immigration Rules.

The ARAP does not recognise an obligation, or imply a commitment, to assist those who worked for or with the UK Government in other countries or theatres of operation, past, present or future.

The ARAP Immigration Rules can be found here: Immigration Rules: Appendix ARAP. There is no benefit to individuals in submitting duplicate applications unless specifically requested by the ARAP team.

An eligible Afghan citizen will be contacted to include family members in their application. Where an eligible Afghan citizen or their partner relocate to the UK under the ARAP, family members who were not included in the ARAP application who wish to join them in the UK later cannot apply under the ARAP, and must instead make an application directly to the Home Office to join family in the UK. Further information on joining family in the UK can be found on GOV.UK: Family visas: apply, extend or switch.

Applicants (whether overseas or in the UK) cannot use the ARAP online application form to apply for leave outside the Immigration Rules. The ARAP form is not an immigration application. It is designed for an individual to seek confirmation from the Ministry of Defence that they meet the requirements to be eligible for assistance or relocation under the ARAP, as a principal applicant or a dependent family member of a relevant Afghan citizen who is eligible under the ARAP.

Eligibility under the ARAP

There are four categories for assistance, against which all ARAP applications are assessed.

Where an applicant who was directly employed by, or contracted to, a UK Government Department was dismissed from their job they will be ineligible for relocation to the UK under the ARAP (except in circumstances where the UK Government considers that the person was dismissed for a minor reason).

Applicants who meet the eligibility criteria for relocation under the ARAP will have an application made on their behalf to the Home Office for biometric enrolment and security checks.

CohortAssistance offered
Category 1High risk / imminent threatUrgent relocation
Category 2Eligible for relocation by defaultRoutine relocation
Category 3Not eligible for relocationOther support offered
Category 4Special casesCase-by-case basis

Category 1

The cohort eligible for urgent relocation comprises of employees of the UK Government in Afghanistan on or after 1 October 2001 and who, because of that employment, are assessed to be at high and imminent risk of threat to life.

Category 2

The cohort eligible for relocation by default comprises of those who were directly employed by the UK Government in Afghanistan, or those who were contracted to provide linguistic services to or for the benefit of the UK’s Armed Forces in Afghanistan, 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.

Category 3

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.

Category 4

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 a UK Government department; provided goods or services in Afghanistan under contract to a UK Government department; or worked in Afghanistan alongside a UK Government department, in partnership with or closely supporting and assisting that department; and
  • in the course of that employment or work or provision of services they made a substantive and positive contribution 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 the UK Government or its interests

Checks will be made with the UK Government department by whom the applicant was employed, contracted to or worked alongside, in partnership with or closely supported or assisted.

The Review Process

If you are deemed ineligible under the 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

You have one right of review of your initial decision. To submit a request for a review you must use the request a review form.

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 of that letter, save for where there are compelling circumstances which have prevented them from meeting this deadline.

Upon receipt of a review application, the Ministry of Defence will make a request for information. Applicants have 14 days to respond to requests for information. Failure to respond to this request for information within this timeframe will result in your application being assessed using only the information already held.

Family Member Relocation

To be eligible for consideration for relocation under the ARAP, family members must be included in the principal’s original ARAP application for eligibility made to the Ministry of Defence. Family members who seek to join or stay with an Afghan citizen or their partner after the Afghan citizen or their partner has relocated to the UK under the ARAP must apply for entry clearance or permission to stay in the UK, for example under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules. These Rules provide for a partner, dependent children and adult dependent relatives to join, or stay with, a settled person in the UK.

Individuals relocated to the UK under the ARAP do not have refugee status and therefore are not eligible to sponsor family members under the Refugee Family Reunion Rules.

Where a valid immigration application is made under Appendix FM, but the requirements of those rules are not met, consideration will be given to whether to grant entry clearance or permission to stay on the basis of exceptional circumstances under the Rules, or on the basis of compelling, compassionate grounds outside the Rules.

Upon receipt of an Additional Family Members (AFM) application, the Ministry of Defence will make a request for information. Applicants have 14 days to respond to requests for information. Failure to respond to any request for information will likely result in a rejection of an application.

Eligible Principal applicants whose Additional Family Members (AFM) have been found not eligible for relocation can request a review of their ARAP AFM application using the request a review form.

Additional information

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 may wish 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 gov.uk website.

Individuals who come to the UK under ARAP may be eligible to apply to sponsor family members under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. These Rules provide for a partner, dependent children and adult dependent relatives to apply to join, or stay with, a settled person in the UK.

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 gov.uk website – Apply to come to the UK.

If you think you may be eligible for ILR (settlement) under the EGS, please contact Afghanresettlementinforequests@homeoffice.gov.uk with your details and we will get back to you shortly regarding the application process.

Source: UK Home Office

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