You have likely seen on the news that the political and economic situation in Afghanistan remain in dire circumstances, with the Taliban in full control of the nation. There are reports of many people going without food, shelters being overly full and many businesses being unable to operate properly.
To show support to Afghanistan during this hard time, the UK has launched the Afghan Resettlement Scheme in order to bring people safely over here with the view of rehoming them and allowing them to integrate into our society. This blog will look at how concessions have been changed in order to allow Afghan nationals who either had entered the UK prior to 1 September 2021 or had made an entry clearance application prior to that date and subsequently arrive in the UK. These concessions also apply to their dependants.
Important criteria to be considered under the Afghan concessions
It is integral that applicants meet the below criteria to remain in the UK:
- be an Afghan national, or their dependant partner or child
- be in the UK lawfully or have been granted an exceptional assurance, or where the applicant has overstayed, paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules must apply to them
- prior to 1 September 2021 have lawfully entered the UK, or made an entry clearance application and subsequently arrived after that date in the UK using that entry clearance, as a:
- person on a work or study route set out in Table 1 (main applicants) or Table 2 (dependants) below (links to tables here),
- T5 (Temporary Worker) Seasonal Worker/Temporary Work – Seasonal
- T5 (Temporary Worker) Youth Mobility Scheme/Youth Mobility Scheme,
- Short-term Student,
- Overseas Domestic Worker,
- Domestic Worker in a Private Household, or
- Domestic Worker who is a Victim of Modern Slavery
- be applying for permission to stay on a work or study route
- meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules for the route on which they are applying, subject to the concessions contained in this guidance.
It is important to remember that when an applicant does meet these criteria, it does not guarantee them a successful application. Each applicant will be considered individually on their own merits.
Some Afghan nationals may be permitted to stay in the UK under a different route to what they are currently on, otherwise known as ‘switching’. Usually, this will require the candidate to return to their home country in order to make such an application. As the situation in Afghanistan means that this is impossible or unadvisable for many people, some concessions have been brought in so that they can switch from inside the UK.
Such concessions will cover those who meet the general requirements above and also meet the following relevant requirements:
- the applicant has confirmed in writing that they wish to be considered under this concession and has explained their reasons for applying in-country, rather than returning to Afghanistan to make an entry clearance application: the decision maker does not require detailed evidence as to why returning to Afghanistan would be problematic – they can instead be satisfied with a reasonable written explanation provided with the application.
- they have entered the UK on a temporary route and are seeking permission to switch into a route listed in the tables below.
So, should an applicant meet the above criteria, they can apply to UK Visas and Immigration to switch from one route under the Immigration Rules to another. However, they must meet the requirements of the rules of that other route. All applications will be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account all of the circumstances.
The Home Office will be reasonably flexible when dealing with applicants who cannot provide certain documentation needed for their application. However, this decision will be based on a written explanation from the applicant detailing why they cannot provide the document in question.
For example, the institution which distributes the document may not be operating in Afghanistan at this time. Or, the document must be collected in person, which again may not be possible or advised presently.
If the Home Office is satisfied that due to the situation in Afghanistan a document required by the Immigration Rules cannot reasonably be obtained from Afghanistan, the requirement to provide that document may be waived. Again, all applications will be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account all of the circumstances.
We are pleased to see the UK take this positive stance on the situation in Afghanistan and have chosen to act in an empathetic and supportive way. People who find themselves in the UK after fleeing the situation in Afghanistan do not deserve to be punished for something that is not their fault, and it is a testament to the UK to provide them with needed support.
If you are reading this and have been affected by the situation in Afghanistan and require any legal advice, we are here for you.
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