Afghan Crisis Support – How you can help

The alarming headlines and distressing images from Afghanistan have prompted an outpouring of support from people in Wales. You can register your interest here in being part of the Welsh response to the crisis.

On 13th September the Home Office formally announced there will be new funding in place to welcome Afghan families to the UK. Separate to the existing Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme, the newly funded Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) will be working to prioritise vulnerable people including, women and girls at risk, members of minority groups at risk (LGBT+ and religious or ethnic minorities) and those who have previously assisted UK efforts in Afghanistan.

Those arriving through ARAP or ACRS will be granted immediate indefinite Leave to Remain, allowing them to access their rights and benefits entitled to help support the rebuilding of their lives.

Q: What is Welsh Refugee Council doing?

  • We are working in partnership with the Welsh Refugee Coalition, and the Together for Refugees Campaign, to ensure we have a collective voice in asking for urgent action. We and the Welsh Government remain committed to being a Nation of Sanctuary.
  • We have joined Refugee Council and partners in an open letter in the Times, calling on the government to do more and to scrap the Nationality and Borders Bill.
  • We are demanding that all Afghan nationals with existing asylum claims in the UK are granted leave to remain on the basis that it is clearly not safe to return.
  • We are holding emergency meetings with the Home Office to clarify the situation and hold them to account as decisions are made.
  • We are putting pressure on the government to bring some of the most vulnerable Afghan people to safety.
  • We are helping local authorities to prepare to receive asylum seekers and refugees and are providing practical support for 5 Afghan families resettling.

Q: What can I do?

  • You can write to your MP to ask for urgent action. Find out here who your MP is. You can download and use our template to ask for urgent action
  • Writing to your local newspaper using this template letter to the editor to help others in your area be more aware of the harmful effects
  • You can register your interest to offer support to organisations like Welsh Refugee Council who mobilise people to act in a crisis.

Q: How can my family and friends leave Afghanistan?

Unfortunately, we cannot assume that the US/UK/CANADA/Other countries will evacuate all local staff. Other highly vulnerable groups of people will also not be flown out. You may wish to inquire locally to determine whether it is possible to travel to another country.

We are in conversations with the Home Office to understand how the Afghanistan Relocation Assistance Programme will work in practice.

We and other charities have raised your questions about how people can get out. We will update you when we hear more.

Q: Should I contact UNHCR for help?

UNHCR is not involved in evacuations from Kabul. UNHCR is currently only able to resettle refugees from neighbouring countries. Their priority in Afghanistan right now is emergency assistance and aid delivery.

If you are an Afghan in Iran, please contact UNHCR https://help.unhcr.org/iran/arrival/

If you are an Afghan in Pakistan, please contact UNHCR at https://help.unhcr.org/pakistan/

For further contacts of international offices please download and share this contact sheet.

Resources

  • The Asylum Reform Initiative – of which Asylum Matters is part – has created shared lines on the crisis, including key urgent asks for the Government for Afghan refugees already in the UK.
  • The Together With Refugees coalition has created a folder for briefings on the situation in Afghanistan, which is in the Nationality and Borders Bill briefings
  • The Good Practice team at Refugee Action has produced this useful update bringing together available resources on all aspects of the situation in Afghanistan.
  • Garden Court Chambers has produced a number of factsheets intended to assist Afghan nationals and those supporting them with a brief summary of some of the main routes for Afghans to enter the UK.

Events, training and other resources 

  • Maternity Action Webinar on NHS charging regulations: To launch their new case study report, ‘Breach of Trust: Incorrect implementation of the Overseas Charging Regulations by NHS Trusts in England’, Maternity Action is holding a webinar on Friday 17 September 2021 at 12.00– 13.30 pm. The webinar will discuss widespread poor practices and errors of law made by NHS Trusts in implementing the NHS charging regulations for overseas visitors in England. You can register for the webinar here.
  • Webinar on child statelessness: The European Network on Statelessness is hosting a webinar to examine the impact of the UK Government’s current Nationality and Borders Bill on stateless children in the UK. The event takes place at 10-11 am on Thursday 9 September, register here.

We will be organising an information session in the next couple of weeks to help update supporters on what is happening and what more we can do. Please register to be sent an invite.