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Last updated: 24 January 2022

STAR stands in solidarity with all who are affected by the unfolding crisis in Afghanistan. In this article we have collated useful information for Afghan nationals who are studying or about to start studying in the UK. 

On 17 January 2022, the UK government issued new concessions to the immigration rules for Afghan nationals for work and study routes. The concession permits some Afghan nationals who entered the UK prior to 1 September 2021 to apply for permission to stay on a different route under the Immigration Rules to that which they currently have (often called ‘switching’) when the rules do not usually permit it. Read more on GOV.UK.

If you are studying, planning to study or conducting academic research in the UK this UKCISA (UK Council for International Student Affairs) webpage provides helpful guidance and links for Afghan nationals who are in Afghanistan, in a third country or in the UK. They also have an advice line for international students but can only advise on student immigration, fees, and finance. 

If you are studying or about to study at a UK university and your studies may be affected by the crisis, STAR recommends reaching out to staff at your university:

  • Talk to your academic or personal tutor about concerns related to any academic work that may be affected.
  • Talk to student support or well-being services about accessing additional pastoral or mental health support. 
  • Talk to the university’s financial team for information about hardship funds or concerns related to paying your fees.

The following pages on the STAR website have information about additional financial support that you may be able to access:

If you are currently outside of the UK and looking for academic opportunities:
  • The UNHCR Opportunities platform advertises scholarship programmes that are open to people who are displaced globally.
  • CARA’s Fellowship Programme supports academics at immediate risk around the world to escape to a place of safety where they can continue their work.
  • Scholars at Risk find temporary research-based and teaching positions for threatened scholars with Ph.D. degrees and significant teaching and/or research experience at a higher education institution. As of January 2022, they have opportunities available for Afghan nationals based in Europe or arriving soon.

UC Davis have created a tool to help displaced students keep critical academic and other documents safely and securely stored, shared, and evaluated. 

The following organisations offer free mental health and well-being support for students and young people:

  • Student Minds have information about support programmes and services that may be available to you at university.
  • Young Minds have resources to support you and your mental health. You can also access 24/7 support via the YoungMinds Crisis Messenger. Just text YM to 85258 for free, any time of the day.

Information for Afghan citizens seeking to enter the UK or seeking asylum in the UK:

  • The Home Office has a helpline for people in Afghanistan, including students, who are trying to travel to the UK or apply for immigration permission. Read more on the UKCISA website.
  • Garden Courts chambers have put together factsheets on ARAP (Afghan Relocations & Assistance Policy and Ex-Gratia Scheme), resettlement and family reunion. These factsheets are intended to assist Afghan nationals and those supporting them with a brief summary of some of the main routes for Afghans to enter the UK. These factsheets are not intended as legal advice.
  • Refugee Action have collated resources of support whilst in the process of producing a future handbook on legal options, advice and resources focused on The Afghan Crisis.  
  • The Right to Remain Toolkit is a step by step expert guide to the UK immigration and asylum system. It’s for people who want to learn more about the legal process, or a particular part of the legal process. You might be making an application or are thinking about it; you might be helping someone else to do so.
  • The Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) has summarised the options for people seeking asylum in the UK from Afghanistan, together with GMIAU’s advice.

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