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Afghan Nationals and family members
Following the collapse of the Afghan government, the UK government has put in place a number of resettlement schemes to allow certain Afghan Nationals and their family members to settle in the the UK (more detail below).

The government have also issued Regulations that exempt resettled Afghans from the habitual residence test for means-tested benefits (and the past presence test for PIP etc).  

This means that these resettled Afghan nationals will have leave to enter the UK on terms that do not prevent them from having access to public funds, and should be accepted as habitually resident ie they can claim Universal Credit without any restrictions.

There are three main resettlement schemes schemes covering Afghan Nationals arriving to the UK: the ‘ex gratia’ scheme which ends in November 2022, the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), and the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP) which started on 1 April 2021 and operates indefinitely.

ARAP
Afghan nationals previously employed with the British forces (known as 'Locally Employed Staff (LES), and their family members, can come to the UK with specific leave under the Immigration rules.. They will be issued, on arrival, with a Biometric Residence Permit  stating that they have Indefinite Leave to remain. 
Any Afghan Nationals admitted under the ARAP before these regulations were introduced would have been given Limited Leave to Remain (LLR) and would not have been eligible for UC or certain other benefits until they had been found to be actually habitually resident (usually after 3 months). They can now apply to have their LLR converted to ILR free of charge. 

ARCS
The ACRS is for other Afghan Nationals who would be at risk if they stayed in Afghanistan.
It prioritises:
Those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights and freedom of speech, rule of law (for example, judges, women’s rights activists, academics, journalists) and
Vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT).
Spouses, partners and dependent children under the age of 18 of identified eligible individuals are eligible; other family members may be resettled in exceptional circumstances.
Unaccompanied children may be offered resettlement where it is determined that resettlement to the UK is in their best interests.
Those covered by the ACRS will also be given Indefinite Leave to Remain

Plus the gov.uk press release of September 21st 2021 states that those not covered by one of the schemes, but who have left Afghanistan due to the collapse of the Afghan government, and who have a "qualifying immigration status", will be covered by these Regulations and able to claim UC. We assume this status could be either LLR or ILR.

Detailed information from a Home Office policy paper (including a helpline for those affected) here.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has produced a Welcome Pack for Afghan Nationals and their family members.





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