Resource Person: Katia Bianchini
*For Afghans seeking relocation assistance to the UK
Additional information for Afghans related to resettlement to the UK is available on the UNHCR UK Information and links to Afghanistan Situation page and through this site with more specific details to be made available – UK Gov Afghan citizens’ resettlement scheme.
For more detailed information on resettlement to the UK, a full country profile can be viewed here at Know Reset.
The UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) was launched on 25 February 2021, replacing the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS). The UKRS is accessible to refugees who have been assessed for resettlement by UNHCR against their resettlement submission categories, in that they fall into one or more of the following categories:
- Legal and/or physical protection needs
- Survivors of violence and/or torture
- Medical needs
- Women and girls at risk
- Family reunification
- Children and adolescents at risk
- Lack of foreseeable alternative durable solutions.
Through the UKRS, the UNHCR identify refugees in need of resettlement, who are then referred to the UK Government, which assesses the case and conducts security checks. The caseload of those resettled under this scheme is determined in discussion with the UNHCR and in line with their projected global resettlement needs. Local authority capacity in the UK is also considered, to ensure that the types of cases referred can be resettled in the UK. Under the UKRS, refugees are matched to a local authority which can provide suitable accommodation and the appropriate support for those being resettled. The number of refugees resettled through this scheme each year depends on several factors, including future government funding commitments and local authorities’ capacity for supporting refugees
The Community Sponsorship Scheme is part of the UK Government – UNHCR refugee resettlement programme and enables community groups whose application to support a refugee family has been approved by the local authorities to directly welcome and support a resettled family into their local community. This scheme is also accessible to refugees who have been assessed for resettlement by UNHCR against their resettlement submission categories.
The Mandate Resettlement Scheme resettles recognised refugees with a close family member in the UK who is willing to accommodate them. Beneficiaries of the Mandate scheme must have been recognised as refugees by UNHCR and judged by them to need resettlement. The refugee must be a minor child, spouse, or parent or grandparent aged over 65 of someone settled in the UK, or who has limited leave to remain in a category leading to settlement, who is willing to accommodate and support them. It should be noted that wider family members, for example, adult siblings, would only be considered in exceptional circumstances. The UK relative does not need to hold refugee status. There is no resettlement quota for the Mandate scheme.
Family Reunification for Resettled Refugees
The rules set out at Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules state that a person can apply for indefinite leave to enter the UK at the British embassy of the country where he/she is residing if the following requirements are met:
is related to a person present and settled in the UK, a British citizen or a refugee in one of the following ways:
- parent aged 18 years or over;
- brother or sister aged 18 years or over; or
- son or daughter aged 18 years or over
The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must as a result of age, illness or disability require long-term personal care to perform everyday tasks
The applicant or, if the applicant and their partner are the sponsor’s parents or grandparents, the applicant’s partner, must be unable, even with the practical and financial help of the sponsor, to obtain the required level of care in the country where they are living, because-
- it is not available and there is no person in that country who can reasonably provide it; or
- it is not affordable
Moreover, the applicant must provide evidence to satisfy the Entry Clearance Officer that they can be adequately maintained, accommodated and cared for in the UK by the sponsor without recourse to public funds.
If the applicant’s sponsor is a British Citizen or settled in the UK, the applicant must provide an undertaking signed by the sponsor confirming that the applicant will have no recourse to public funds, and that the sponsor will be responsible for their maintenance, accommodation and care, for a period of 5 years from the date the applicant enters the UK if they are granted indefinite leave to enter.
Leave to enter or remain in the UK as the child of a parent, parents or a relative present and settled or being admitted for settlement in the UK
Under the Immigration Rules para 297, a person may apply for indefinite leave to enter the United Kingdom as the child of a parent, parents or a relative present and settled or being admitted for settlement in the UK if they are seeking to enter to accompany or join a parent, parents or relative in one of the following circumstances:
- both parents are present and settled or are being admitted on the same occasion in the UK; or
- one parent is present and settled in the UK and the other is being admitted on the same occasion for settlement; or
- one parent is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and the other parent is dead; or
- one parent is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and has had sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing; or
- one parent or a relative is present and settled in the UK or being admitted on the same occasion for settlement and there are serious and compelling family or other considerations which make exclusion of the child undesirable and suitable arrangements have been made for the child’s care;
and the applicant:
- is under the age of 18 at the date of application; and
- is not leading an independent life, is not married or in a civil partnership, and has not formed an independent family unit; and
- will be accommodated and maintained adequately without recourse to public funds in accommodation which the parent, parents or relative the child is seeking to join, own or occupy exclusively;
- holds a valid United Kingdom entry clearance for entry in this capacity; and
- does not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.
Furthermore, it is not a requirement that the applicant has been granted refugee status.
UK Home Office, UK Refugee Resettlement: Policy Guidance, August 2021, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1011824/Resettlement_Policy_Guidance_2021.pdf
UK Home Office, Family Policy: Adult Dependent Relatives, Policy Guidance, December 2020, available here: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/948056/adult-dependent-relatives-v1.0ext.pdf