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British Red Cross welcomes Home Office announcement on Afghan resettlement

Responding to the news that the UK Government’s Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will open in January, a British Red Cross spokesperson said:

“We welcome the news that the UK Government is set to open the resettlement programme that was promised to people within Afghanistan who need protection.

“We know that resettlement programmes can be lifelines for people fleeing persecution and violence, especially when the right support is in place when they arrive in the UK.  Our experience supporting a previous programme – for people from Syria – is that for these schemes to work well it has to be a real partnership between national and local government, charities like our own, but also the communities themselves, who play a vital role in welcoming those who seek safety here. When that’s in place, the benefit on people affected by the crisis and the communities that welcome them is huge.

“We look forward to hearing more about the plan and how this will work in practice.”

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme will provide up to 20,000 Afghans with a safe and legal route to resettle in the UK over a five-year period.

The British Red Cross has supported over15,000 people who have been evacuated from Afghanistan since August 2021. Staff and volunteers have welcomed families at airports and in hotels, distributing essential items like clothing, blankets and baby milk, and helping people access medical care.

ENDS

Notes to editors

  • The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) was first announced on 17 August 2021. It will provide 5,000 places in the first year, and up to 20,000 places total over the coming years. The scheme will prioritise those who have assisted in the UK efforts in Afghanistan, who face a particular risk. The Scheme is distinct from the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), launched in April 2021 by the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence to support current and former Locally Employed Staff and their families in Afghanistan to reflect the changing situation in Afghanistan. It is estimated that around 17,000 people have arrived in the UK via the ARAP scheme, which is directly administered by the UK Government.

  • The British Red Cross is the largest independent provider of support to refugees and people seeking asylum in the UK, including working with people living in accommodation provided by the Home Office. Last year, the charity worked with around 30,000 people at all stages of the asylum process.

  • For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies. We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them recover and move on with their lives.redcross.org.uk

For further information

press@redcross.org.uk / 0207 877 7557