How many Afghan refugees are in the UK? Where people from Afghanistan will live - and who gets right to remain

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There are several places where you can help Afghan refugees with clothes donations

Hundreds of UK troops have returned home from the evacuation mission in Kabul after the UK’s 20-year military involvement in Afghanistan.

It brings to an end Operation Pitting, thought to be the biggest evacuation effort by the UK since the second world war.

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Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a Royal Air Force Voyager at RAF Brize Norton (Getty/Pool/AFP) Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a Royal Air Force Voyager at RAF Brize Norton (Getty/Pool/AFP)
Members of the British armed forces 16 Air Assault Brigade walk to the air terminal after disembarking a Royal Air Force Voyager at RAF Brize Norton (Getty/Pool/AFP)

President Joe Biden set a deadline of August 31 for US forces to withdraw from Afghanistan, despite people who need help remaining in the country.

The exit of UK and US forces has been rife with violence as a suicide bombing killed more than 170 Afghan civilians and 13 US troops.

So, how many refugees who were able to leave Afghanistan are resettling in the UK?

How many Afghan refugees have arrived in the UK? 

The UK has evacuated more than 15,000 people since August 13, of whom more than 8,000 are Afghan relocations and assistance policy (ARAP) claimants.

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Ministers say around 10,000 refugees are currently in hotel quarantine - where they will have to stay for at least 10 days due to Afghanistan being on the UK’s red list for travel.

Although only a third of UK councils have come forward to help families find homes, with just as few as 100 local authorities out of 333 joining the ARAP policy.

The Telegraph reported 30 local authorities, which have not been named, have refused to help Afghan refugees; reportedly claiming they ‘don’t have resources or they have their own concerns.’

The government is still developing the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme, to take in up to 20,000 refugees in the long term, who were forced to flee their home or face threats of persecution from the Taliban.

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According to the BBC Reality Check, the Home Office says since 22 June it has resettled 2,000 former Afghan staff and their families in the UK. The target under this scheme is 5,000 by the end of this year.

Afghan resettlement minister Victoria Atkins said she is “confident” more councils will sign up to resettlement schemes, with around a third having made firm offers so far.

Ms Atkins said Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick will meet with local government chiefs on 2 September to discuss “how we can make this scheme work fairly across the country”.

“We’ve had firm offers from at least a third of councils and we’re in talks with many, many more, so I’m confident that number will change over the coming days,” she added to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme.

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What help is the UK government giving Afghan refugees?

Afghans who worked with the British government and military will be able to move to the UK permanently, the Home Office has confirmed.

The department announced the decision on Wednesday 1 September as it revealed more details of how its plan, dubbed Operation Warm Welcome, to help Afghans rebuild their lives in the UK would work.

The government has now pledged £12 million to help enrol children in schools quickly, to help with transport, specialist teachers and English language support.

Three million will go towards helping families access healthcare and register with a GP while £5 million will fund councils with housing support.

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Funding for up to 300 undergraduate and postgraduate scholarships for Afghans at UK universities and adults will also be able to access English language courses free of charge.

Liaison officers will also be available to help families get in touch with councils and other services they may need, as well as help them find accommodation and get a National Insurance number.

An online “portal” also offers of support, such as jobs, accommodation and donations of clothing and toys, can be registered.

How can I help refugees arriving in the UK?

There are a number of ways you can help to support refugees in your local area - one of which is by donating clothes or other items.

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Baby equipment, food, shoes, trainers, underwear, bedding, mobile phones and chargers are among those items most in need to help the support efforts of refugees in the UK.

People wishing to find out more about how they can help refugees through donating items or money to the cause in their area can do so through the government website.

Alternatively there are numerous campaigns and charities looking for help or assistance at this time in supporting Afghan refugees in the UK.

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