Supporting Afghan refugees
As a council, we have pledged our support for the Government's planned programme to house Afghan refugees and are fully committed to doing everything we possibly can to help those most in need, including women, girls and those who have been helping British operations in Afghanistan.
We understand that the Government is looking to resettle 20,000 Afghan refugees in the UK over a number of years, with 5,000 in the first year. This is in addition to the current Afghan Locally Employed scheme, which works to relocate at-risk Afghan workers who have supported coalition troops. We're proud to say that Chichester District Council was one of the first districts to have housed a family under the Locally Employed scheme, and that we are looking at housing more people in the near future.
In our area, West Sussex County Council will lead on Afghan refugee resettlement in West Sussex, and we will be supporting this effort by providing annual funding. Our main role would be to identify suitable housing that can be used as part of the scheme, as we have already done under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, which has successfully housed a number of Syrian families in the Chichester District over the last few years.
We will know more as the Government's programme is developed, but any plans to resettle Afghan refugees in our area will follow a similar process to the Syrian Scheme, with the Home Office coordinating rehoming centrally as part of a national initiative. We will keep people updated on any news as it becomes available.
A significant cross-government effort is already underway, dubbed 'Operation Warm Welcome', to ensure Afghans arriving in the UK receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education and integrate into their local communities. The operation will include the following:
- Arrivals under Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy will be given immediate indefinite leave to remain
- £12 million to provide additional school places
- £5 million to support housing for refugees
- £3 million to support access to NHS
How you can help
- The Government has set up a dedicated webpage for people to help refugees who have come to the UK.
- You can also pledge offers of homes to accommodate people arriving from Afghanistan.