New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 617, Part 3

Afghan citizens

Tweaks to existing resettlement schemes for Afghans, including granting indefinite leave to remain from the outset

Paragraphs 276BA1 to 276BS4 in Part 7 of the Rules cover permission for Afghan citizens to come to the UK under two special schemes. These are the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy and the ex-gratia scheme. The paragraphs in question are being replaced by new text, rather than just amended.

One significant change is to paragraph 276BA1. This currently says that Afghans who qualify for these schemes will be granted permission to enter the UK for five years. In future, “they will be granted entry clearance, which will have effect on arrival in the UK as indefinite leave to enter”. In other words, their permission to be in the UK will not have an expiration date.

In paragraph 276BB1, the requirement for people availing of these schemes to be “in Afghanistan” is being removed. The same goes for dependants, in paragraph 276BF1. The effect is that people will be able to apply for these schemes from outside Afghanistan, which makes sense in view of recent events. 

The grounds for refusing permission under these provisions are being slimmed down to just the general grounds for refusal in Part 9 of the Rules. At the moment, there are additional grounds for turning people away, including if “there are serious reasons for considering that the applicant constitutes a danger to the community or to the security of the United Kingdom”. It is hard to know what to make of this change: the Home Office is not about to let people into the UK if it considers them a security risk. It may be just a tidying-up exercise, and that any cases caught by this wording could also be addressed under the general grounds for refusal.

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