Many constituents have contacted me about their family members and loved ones in Afghanistan.
I know that this is a terribly worrying time, given all of the uncertainty and fear about what will happen now that the Taliban are in control of the country.
The UK evacuated around 15,000 people from Kabul, including British nationals and Afghans, but as you know, evacuation flights from Kabul stopped at the end of August. I know that this news will make many people feel anxious, but the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP Scheme) will continue and applications will be processed. However, individuals will need to find a way of getting themselves out of the country.
There will also be a resettlement programme for refugees, but we are still waiting for the Home Office to announce further details. We are urging ministers to publish this information as soon as possible.
As for the individual family members that you have written to me about, we will of course send you any further information as and when we get a response from the UK Government, but we have had almost no responses so far and it is more likely that your family member will be contacted before I am if they are eligible for assistance.
I know that this is an exceptionally anxious time and I will, of course, continue to do everything that I can to argue for help to be given to your loved ones.
Please find below updated information about the UK schemes to help Afghan nationals and how they are operating.
Finally, I really do appreciate the thanks we have had from many of you about the work that my wonderful constituency team have been doing to help you. It is much appreciated.
I hope this is helpful.
Hilary Benn MP
Advice and Information on help for Afghan citizens at risk from the Taliban
The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) offers help to remaining British nationals, and those Afghans who have worked for the UK and who are eligible for relocation, and their families.
Even though UK evacuation flights will no longer take place after today, the ARAP scheme will continue to remain open but those offered relocation will need to make their own way out of Afghanistan.
The ARAP scheme covers:
• all current and former locally-employed staff (eg interpreters) who have been employed directly by the British
• current or former Chevening Scholars
• people with existing leave or an open application for student, work and family visas
• civil society groups for women’s rights
• government officials
• officials working in counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics
• employees of charities, humanitarian organisations and NGOs
You can find out more details here:
To help process these cases the Home Office MP Urgent Queries team have requested the following information is included where possible
· Full name
· Date of Birth
· Relationship to constituent
· Home Office reference number
· Passport / travel document number
· Have they already obtained a visa
· Do they have a visa application pending (if so, please provide the reference)
· Individual(s)’ contact details
We will continue to raise cases with the UK Government where it seems that your family member could be eligible, but I must stress that at the moment this will not mean that those you are desperately worried about will be helped to leave because the UK Government no longer have any way of doing so. But if your family member can get to a third country then that will help.
The Government has also announced that under a new Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme it will welcome up to 5,000 vulnerable Afghans to the UK, who have been forced to flee the country, in its first year, with up to a total of 20,000 in the long-term. However, the scheme is not yet open, and we are awaiting further details. You can see more information here:
If you can let me have any details of your family members and/or friends, then we will pass them on to the Home Office. I must stress that at the moment this will not mean that those you are desperately worried about will be helped to leave. It also not clear what the Home Office intends to do with this information whilst we await details of the resettlement scheme and it may be that a separate application process will be required once the scheme has launched.
Or you can contact the Home Office helpline for non-British nationals direct. This is the advice that the Home Office has published.
If you are a non-British national in Afghanistan or are the family member of a non-British national in Afghanistan, and in need of assistance, call +44 2475 389 980 (or 02475 389 980 in the UK).
This phone number is available 24/7.
You should be prepared to provide as many details as possible including:
• your full name as printed on your travel document / identity card or passport
• your date of birth
You should also provide these details for any dependants or immediate family members you may have such as your spouse and children.
If you are calling on behalf of any individual or individuals in Afghanistan please ensure you have the same details available as requested above to provide.
Please do not call this number to ask for updates. Call lines may be busy but we will answer your call as soon as we can.
This helpline is not providing advice on eligibility for the full Afghan citzens resettlement scheme and it is not for registering interest for the scheme. Please continue checking back on the Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme page for updated details of the scheme.
Other countries have also announced that they will take Afghan refugees so it would be worth looking out for any details of their schemes.
There are also likely to be people seeking to leave over the land borders out of Afghanistan as and when they reopen.
If your relatives and/or friends are British citizens, then the advice being given is as follows. UK nationals stranded in Afghanistan should be advised to contact UK Consular Services on +44 (0)1908 516666 and select the option “Consular services for British nationals”. They can also email email@example.com This number and email address are monitored 24/7 by consular officers in the network.
This should mean that the FCDO are aware that there are UK nationals in need of support, and the FCDO say that all those that register with them via this number or email will be contacted.
There are also links to further travel information and advice here where individual can also sign up for travel information alerts: