Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme

The Council agreed to take part in the Afghan Locally Employed Staff (LES) Relocation Scheme in July 2021.  

The UK government scheme protects the human rights of Afghan Locally Employed Staff who have supported the British Forces deployed in Afghanistan. They now risk persecution and death as British Forces withdraw from the country.    

As part of the scheme, five Afghan families will be relocated to Surrey Heath in August/September 2021.  

People who are relocated under the scheme are supported for a set period by a local authority, to help with settling into their new homes and lives. This includes advice and assistance covering employment, welfare benefits, housing, health, and education.  

After completing five years of limited leave, they can apply for permanent residence in the UK, free of charge, ensuring that they can settle here permanently and continue to build their lives and future here.  

 

What is Surrey Heath Borough Council doing? 

To deliver this scheme, the Government has asked local Councils, in partnership with their communities, to lead in this work. 

Surrey Heath Borough Council, along with other Surrey Authorities, has agreed to help in this humanitarian effort. 

 

How is the scheme funded? 

The work the Council does is funded by a grant from central Government. 

We will also be working with local people, community organisations and businesses to support families. 

 

Where will these families live? 

We are working with our partners at Accent Housing to organise temporary accommodation for the families 

Temporary accommodation has already been sourced by our partners at Accent Housing, however  we will be working with the families to find long term private rental accommodation. 

 

How can I help? 

We know from other areas that have already received families that there is a lot of support in the community for these families and we expect that to be the same in Surrey Heath. 

In Surrey Heath we want to deliver a co-ordinated response that plays to everyone’s strength and gives maximum support to the families we welcome. 

To do this we would like to hear from you if you, your organisation or business would like to help through donations or practical actions. You can do this by completing the short British Forces Afghan Relocation and Assistance online form.         

Once registered, we will keep you up to date with our work, and call on you when we have families to welcome. 

If you would like any further information about the Council’s work on this scheme please contact: ukrs@surreyheath.gov.uk

Across Surrey, residents are asking how they can help support Afghan refugees. At this stage financial donations to charities that are best equipped to immediately support refugees are requested. The Community Foundation for Surrey is set up to administer these donations locally and information on how to donate can be found on their website.
 
Alternatively, the Red Cross are already active in managing donations and supporting arrivals from Afghanistan. Wider local support will be needed from foodbanks and other charities.

 

Volunteering 

SHBC is looking for committed volunteers to help with the integration of Afghan refugee families in the Borough. 

Moving to the UK has been a huge adjustment for the families and they have faced several challenges settling into Surrey. Volunteer support will help them become more independent and to integrate into the community. 

This role encompasses a wide variety of activities, from providing transport or accompanying the families on public transport to and from hospital/GP appointments, to providing ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) support, to helping with getting involved with events and the local community.  

Applicants should be willing to undergo a DBS check and basic safeguarding and cultural awareness training before carrying out this role. 

SHBC's Senior Refugee Coordinator will help place the individuals interested in appropriate volunteer positions, based on interest, experience, available hours and skills and will offer support where needed. Expenses incurred during volunteering will be reimbursed. 

For further information, please contact Eliza Ward on ukrs@surreyheath.gov.uk(link sends e-mail) or 01276 707473. 

 

Meet the team 

Eliza Ward, Senior Refugee Coordinator

Eliza.Ward@surreyheath.gov.uk

Soad Ragab, Family Support Coordinator

Soad.Ragab@surreyheath.gov.uk

Rania Nuseibeh, Family Support Coordinator

Rania.Nuseibeh@surreyheath.gov.uk 

Nada Baouche, Family Support Coordinator

Nada.Baouche@surreyheath.gov.uk