Government says ‘Operation Warm Welcome’ underway

A significant cross-government effort is underway to ensure Afghans arriving in the UK receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education and integrate into their local communities.

Dubbed ‘Operation Warm Welcome’, those coming to the UK through resettlement routes will receive immediate indefinite leave to remain and Afghans who worked closely with the British military and UK Government in Afghanistan, and risked their lives in doing so, can now stay in the UK without any time restrictions.

People already relocated to the UK under the Afghanistan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) will be able to apply free of charge to convert their temporary leave into indefinite leave.

To give children and young adults the best start in life the government is making at least £12 million available to prioritise additional school places so children can be enrolled as soon as possible, and to provide school transport, specialist teachers and English language support to assist with learning.

Further funding will be provided for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghans at UK universities and adults will also be able to access English language courses free of charge.

Families who need support navigating the system will also have access to liaison officers who can work with local authorities to help them get set up with a GP, National Insurance number, school place, accommodation and more tailored support, as required.

This is in addition to £3 million of additional NHS funding so that Afghans arriving under the ARAP scheme can access healthcare and register with a GP once they leave quarantine, and all arrivals being offered the coronavirus vaccine. The government has also pledged £5 million for councils in England, Wales and Scotland to support Afghans coming to the UK via the ARAP scheme and provide a top up to help meet the costs of renting properties.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: “We owe an immense debt to those who worked with the Armed Forces in Afghanistan and I am determined that we give them and their families the support they need to rebuild their lives here in the UK. I know this will be an incredibly daunting time, but I hope they will take heart from the wave of support and generosity already expressed by the British public.”

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