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New Immigration Concessions for Afghan Nationals

In our Knowledge Centre we have recently explored the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (“ACRS”) which opened on 6 January 2022. 

The Concessions to the Immigration Rules for Afghan nationals for work and study routes, Version 1.0 was published on 17 January 2022 and provides new guidance for Afghan citizens who are already in the UK on study or work routes.  The concession also applies to dependants.  In addition to other criteria Applicants will need to have entered the UK before 1 September 2021 or applied for a visa by that date and arrived later.  

The guidance applies to all decisions made from 14 January 2022.  

Two Concessions fo Citizens of Afghanistan

There are two concessions for Afghan nationals;  one for switching visa categories and one for document flexibility.  

Switching Concession for Afghan Nationals

In order to be considered for the switching concession the general requirements are: 

  • The Applicant must be an Afghan national, or their dependent partner or child;
  • The Applicant must have lawful status in the UK or alternatively have been granted exceptional assurance, or where they have overstayed, paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules applies in their circumstances;
  • The Applicant must have, prior to 1 September 2021, entered the UK lawfully or made an application before that date and subsequently arrived using entry clearance in the categories listed on page 4-5 of the concession.

In addition, if switching, an Applicant must confirm in writing why they are applying in-country rather than returning to Afghanistan to make an application, and that they have entered on a temporary route and are seeking permission to switch.  The switching concession will waive the relevant requirement for switching under the categories listed, thus recognising the challenges some Afghan nationals will face in being required to leave the UK to make an application for entry clearance. An Applicant is not permitted to switch into a category which is closed to new applicants. 

Dependants can switch in line or become the main applicant.    

Document Flexibility for Afghan Nationals

In order to be considered for document flexibility the general requirements are:

  • The Applicant must be an Afghan national, or their dependent partner or child;
  • The Applicant must have lawful status in the UK or alternatively have been granted exceptional assurance, or where they have overstayed, paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules applies in their circumstances;
  • The Applicant must have, prior to 1 September 2021, entered the UK lawfully or made an application before that date and subsequently arrived using entry clearance in the categories listed on page 4 of the concession; 
  • Applicants will need to demonstrate that they meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules for the route they are applying under.  

The concession acknowledges the difficulties faced by Applicants when it comes to providing all documents required for an application.  As with the possibility of returning to Afghanistan to make an application, no detailed evidence as to why a document is not available is  required.  The concession allows for  ‘a reasonable written explanation’.

The document concession gives two examples, where a lack of documents may be accepted.  Firstly, where the ‘institution…. is not functioning or is not offering its full range of services due to current circumstances’ and secondly where ‘the document can only be obtained in person, no one else in Afghanistan can reasonably be expected to obtain it on the applicant’s behalf and it is not reasonable to expect the applicant to travel to the location in Afghanistan it needs to be obtained from as it may be unsafe’. 

Case by Case Basis

The guidance confirms that where the criteria are met ‘a caseworker may proceed to consider it under these concessions. All applications will be considered on a case by case basis, taking into account all of the circumstances’.

The concession will be reviewed in a year, on 14 January 2023.

International Protection and Family Reunion

It is still open to individuals to make a claim for international protection.  Applicants may consider the family reunion process which we explored in this earlier article on our Knowledge Centre which provides a practical guide.

Contact our Immigration Lawyers

For expert advice and assistance in relation to the Afghanistan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme, the Concessions to the Immigration Rules for Afghan nationals for work and study routes  or a claim for international protection, contact our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or complete the enquiry form below.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.




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