26 January 2022
Community Sponsorship groups will now be able to welcome Afghan refugees through the new Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme. We are adapting our training and support so that groups will be prepared to welcome refugees who have spent time in temporary accommodation.
On 6th January 2022 the Minister for Afghan Resettlement Victoria Atkins announced that the Afghan Citizens’ Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) had formally launched.
As announced previously, Community Sponsorship groups will be able to welcome Afghan refugees through the ACRS. Having seen the amazing ways that communities across the UK stepped up to welcome Syrian refugees, we are really pleased that Community Sponsorship groups will be able to extend this welcome to those fleeing the crisis in Afghanistan.
The Minister explained in her statement to the House of Commons that the first people to be resettled through the ACRS will be those who were evacuated from Afghanistan and are currently staying in temporary bridging hotels. This is the case for Local Authority-led resettlement and Community Sponsorship.
The need to source longer-term accommodation for those refugees currently in temporary accommodation is urgent. We have been amazed by the number of people coming forward to set up Community Sponsorship groups to welcome Afghan families but we are still calling for more groups to get started to meet the scale of need.
Community Sponsorship groups welcoming refugees through the ACRS will be able to use the existing Community Sponsorship application forms available on GOV.UK and will receive training from us at Reset. While much of our existing training continues to apply to the ACRS, we are adapting our sessions to ensure that Community Sponsors are equipped to support people who may have already spent months in temporary accommodation in the UK.
The UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) will continue to operate alongside the ACRS. Community Sponsorship groups have been welcoming refugee families through the UKRS since April 2021 and will continue to do so. Whereas refugees welcomed via Community Sponsorship through the ACRS will be counted within the government’s resettlement targets, those welcomed through the UKRS will be counted separately, giving Community Sponsorship groups the opportunity to increase the UK’s resettlement capacity. Community Sponsorship groups will be able to choose whether to welcome refugees via the ACRS or the UKRS and can consult Reset staff in making this decision.
Community Sponsorship groups looking for advice on welcoming through the ACRS can access further information in our Understanding ACRS resource on Reset’s training website. Please contact Reset’s training team if you can’t find the answer to your question.