Kingston Council to welcome Afghan refugee families

Kingston Council has announced it will be providing housing for 11 Afghan refugee families within the borough.

Under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP), which will see 20,000 Afghan refugees relocated to the United Kingdom within the next five years, these families will be granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Leader of the Council Caroline Kerr said: “We place great value on being an inclusive borough and I am sure that our community will come together to help us provide a safe haven to our newest residents.” 

The families will each be assigned caseworkers to help them settle into the area, alongside the offer of English lessons to assist with finding employment and achieving integration.

Members of the 11 families filled positions such as interpreters while in Afghanistan, supporting UK efforts in the country.  The ARAP specifically offers assistance to current and former locally employed staff in Afghanistan.

Naseem Afzle, a volunteer working with Afghan refugees, said: “Kingston is a diverse borough where people from all walks of life live, study, work and contribute to the local economy, […] and resettling these refugees would increase the cultural diversity of the area.”

The council will support these refugees by settling them in private housing rather than council property, and has asked landlords who might be able to help accommodate the families in self-contained flats or houses to contact them.

According to the Local Democracy Reporting service, 7000 Afghan refugees are currently in the UK still waiting to be resettled. Refugee Action Kingston, which is preparing to welcome the new arrivals, continues to urge the UK government to support refugees, saying: “The world is watching.  The time for action is now.”

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