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Chevening alumni in Afghanistan ‘a step nearer’ to UK resettlement


Government opens third pathway of its resettlement programme to Chevening alumni and British Council workers

Alumni of the Chevening scholarship programme and British Council workers are among the at-risk groups that will be eligible to apply for the UK government’s​​ Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme later this month.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office confirmed on 13 June that Chevening alumni and British Council contractors who are still in Afghanistan will be able to apply through “pathway 3” of the ACRS from 20 June. Some 1,500 places are available under the pathway, which is also open to employees of the GardaWorld security firm.

The ACRS aims to provide what ministers call a “safe and legal way” for some of the most vulnerable and at-risk people from Afghanistan to come to the UK and rebuild their lives.

Individuals that might be perceived to have close ties to the UK—such as those who studied in the UK under the Chevening programme, or those who have worked for the British Council—have been identified by the government as being particularly at risk.

While the government has committed to offering safe passage to 20,000 at-risk people, there has been criticism of how long the scheme has taken to become operational.

Ruth Arnold, a charity and higher education consultant who is in touch with Chevening alumni in Afghanistan and has been campaigning for their safe passage to the UK, said she was “truly grateful” that the Chevening alumni and British Council contractors are today a step nearer to resettlement in the UK.

“I heard the news direct from one of the alumni at risk who has shown such extraordinary courage as he has faced danger by association with the UK and the values of equality, education and governance which led him to be selected as a Chevener in the first place,” Arnold told Research Professional News.

“These last months of silence have been almost unbearably hard and full of risk to the safety of this group, and yet their courage and mutual support has rarely wavered. I have no doubt they will contribute their extraordinary skills and leadership qualities to the UK in years to come, but for now I’d urge the government to speed up this life-saving humanitarian process so we can fulfil our promises to them.”