The Centre for Military Justice does not provide immigration law advice. We are a tiny charity that works to reform the British Armed Forces and we cannot advise people in Afghanistan needing immigration/refugee law advice.
However, we have been inundated with requests for help from people inside Afghanistan – many with British military connections or otherwise connected to the British mission in Afghanistan – who are absolutely desperate at the current situation and are terrified for their lives. Urgent efforts have therefore been made to set up a triage system for co-ordinating all the requests for help that are being received by us and other charities and non-immigration lawyers that are receiving requests for help. We are working with the law firm DLA Piper to help us to respond to the large number of requests we have been receiving and they have set up a triage system. Any requests for immigration help received by us will be forwarded to DLA Piper for triaging.
This brief information sheet aims to provide some extremely basic general information about potential other sources of information or help. We will try and update it as further information becomes available from the UK Government or other sources.
Lots of individuals firms of solicitors and barristers are willing to give initial advice to people needing immigration law advice on the current situation. The Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) operates a list of members here.
The triaging project being co-ordinated by DLA Piper can be contacted via the contact form on our website.
Support for British and non-British nationals in Afghanistan
The Govt has recently published this note on the evacuation effort. A telephone number has been provided for British nationals, or family members of a British national in Afghanistan: +44 1908 516 666 (or 01908 516 666 in the UK) and select the option ‘Consular services for British nationals’. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/support-for-british-and-non-british-nationals-in-afghanistan
Afghan Diaspora for Equality and Progress
This group of volunteers has produced this document summarising pathways for migration to the US, UK and Australia for Afghans.
UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency
Here is the link to the UNHCR website page with information for people seeking information or support inside Afghanistan. It includes a link to a Protection Hotline 0790691746 and 0704996168 and an email address email@example.com
It also states that there is an inter-agency service via the Awaaz website: https://awaazaf.org/
It is not at all clear that any of these links are currently working or providing useful information due to the rapidly changing situation. Please check the websites directly.
Garden Court Chambers
Garden Court Chambers has produced some very helpful factsheets for Afghan nationals on:
- The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) & The Ex Gratia Scheme
- Resettlement Scheme
- Family Reunion
You can access all three factsheets here: https://www.gardencourtchambers.co.uk/news/arap-resettlement-and-family-reunion-factsheets-for-afghan-citizens-seeking-asylum-in-uk
Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA)
ILPA (with ACAA below) has written to the Home Office setting out all the urgent steps that are needed to facilitate the effective evacuation, resettlement and protection of Afghans. The letter is here: 2021.08.24-Joint-letter-ILPA-and-ACAA
The Afghanistan and Central Asian Association (UK)
The ACAA provides support, skills and knowledge to help Afghan communities live and prosper in the UK. They have an advice and referral clinic. They are trying to urgently co-ordinate immigration lawyers to assist with enquiries.
Tel: 0208 572 0300; 07414 993 450 firstname.lastname@example.org
UK Ministry of Defence
Here is the link to the UK Ministry of Defence’s information page about its relocation scheme for formerly Locally Employed Staff: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy/afghan-relocations-and-assistance-policy-information-and-guidance
The page states that the MoD offers relocation or other assistance to current and former Locally Employed Staff in Afghanistan. However, it was offered through the British Embassy in Kabul and currently there is no available information on the MoD website as to how the scheme is being managed. As of 20 August 2021, the website still included the link to the online relocation form here: https://forms.office.com/Pages/ResponsePage.aspx?id=7WB3vlNZS0iuldChbfoJ5fowYYw5QlNLoVCT4OM_uPlUN0ZNVDJURVMzMUtKNjJRUUwxSUJZMjdIVSQlQCN0PWcu
MOD representatives can apparently be contacted for further advice at email@example.com or on 0792 907 303. We have heard that the embassy is still providing some sort of service at the airport in Kabul as of 22 August.
There is also an Ex Gratia Scheme for locally employed staff who have been or will be made redundant as a direct consequence of the UK’s military drawdown from Afghanistan. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/afghanistan-locally-employed-staff-ex-gratia-scheme/afghanistan-locally-employed-staff-ex-gratia-scheme-further-information-on-eligibility-criteria-and-offer-details
More detailed guidance on these schemes is here (dated 1 April 2021): https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/971252/afghan-locally-employed-staff-relocation-schemes-v2.0-gov-uk.pdf
The Govt has recently announced that there will be a new ‘Afghan Citizen’s Resettlement Scheme’ that will take up to 20,000 people over a number of years. No guidance on the operation of this scheme has been published at the time of writing and it is not yet open. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/afghan-citizens-resettlement-scheme
When the scheme is opened and guidance published, it is likely to be available at the above link. A little more Govt information is here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/bespoke-resettlement-route-for-afghan-refugees-announced
The Govt has not announced any updated guidance on the handling of existing Afghan asylum claims either so it is not known how those applications will be processed given the enormous changes in Afghanistan in recent weeks.
A Govt ‘factsheet’ on the current ‘routes for Afghan nationals’ is here: https://homeofficemedia.blog.gov.uk/2021/08/19/factsheet-resettlement-routes-for-afghan-nationals/
Once further information or updated guidance is available we will update this page.
LGBTQ+ Afghan Nationals
Please refer any LGBTQ persons trying to get out of Afghanistan to:
Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI)
The JCWI is a UK charity that provides advice and information to people seeking help with immigration issues. Their website is here https://www.jcwi.org.uk and their recent statement on Afghanistan is here https://www.jcwi.org.uk/stand-with-afghan-refugees
The JCWI is urging the Home Secretary to:
- Abandon the ‘resettlement-only’ plans set out in the Nationality and Borders Bill, that would criminalise or deny full refugee status to those who make their own journeys to seek asylum in the UK
- Grant immediate asylum to Afghans already waiting for status in the UK
- Release all Afghan nationals from detention
- Expand the family reunion route so that Afghans can be joined by other members of their family, such as parents and siblings
- Join the international effort to evacuate and resettle Afghan nationals
Their recent letter to the Home Secretary (in English and Pashto) is here: https://www.jcwi.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=ed3b0cd9-14cd-4565-b22e-69b180424de7; https://www.jcwi.org.uk/Handlers/Download.ashx?IDMF=9eb76f84-e901-444e-8662-53044211a513
The UK human rights organisation Liberty has a page that signposts people seeking immigration law advice. It is however directed to people already inside the UK. The link is here:https://www.libertyhumanrights.org.uk/advice_information/i-need-immigration-advice/
Contact your MP
If you are in the UK and worried about relatives or friends in Afghanistan, you should send basic information about your loved one to your MP, including name, date of birth, passport or other identifying information. Colleagues in other charities have been told that MPs will raise the case with the Foreign Office and you should ask your MP to do this.
As more information becomes available we will update this page.
31 August 2021