Afghanistan is the country with the fastest growing number of high net worth individuals relocating to the UK in the latest tax year.
In 2019-20, 180 non-domiciled individuals from Afghanistan moved to the UK, according to new data shared exclusively with City A.M. this weekend.
This is up 29 per cent from 140 High Net Worths moving to the UK in the previous year.
Overall the number of High Net Worths (HNWs) moving to the UK from overseas was 241,120 in that year up from 239,290, City law firm Bates Wells calculated.
The increase is primarily driven by the increased instability in Afghanistan over the last few years culminating in the Taliban seizing power in August 2021.
The United Kingdom is seen as an attractive destination for these Afghan and other HNW nationals largely due to its economic and political stability, the law firm explained in an email.
“The United Kingdom has provided refuge for thousands of Afghan nationals who had been employed directly by the UK government as well as those deemed by the Home Office to be at high risk under Taliban rule.”Chetal Patel, Partner at Bates Wells
“The rise in HNW Afghans coming to the UK is testament to the increasingly perilous position that these individuals found themselves in,” said Chetal Patel, Partner in Bates Wells’ Immigration practice.
“The Government should also be helping Afghan nationals who might not meet the very strict criteria of the Home Office and are still very much at risk if they stay in Afghanistan,” she added.
Afghan nationals who have entered the UK since the Taliban retook power are likely to have entered the country via evacuation schemes, such as the Afghan citizens resettlement scheme. If they meet the requirements of these programmes, refugees are granted indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
Other programmes include the ex-gratia redundancy and resettlement scheme, open to Afghans and family members who either had been or were made redundant as a direct consequence of the UK’s military drawdown from Afghanistan or resigned on or after May 1 2006 and they must have continuously served for at least 12 months.
Then there is the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy, open to current or former Locally Employed staff directly employed by the UK government since 2001, whose life is deemed to be at serious risk.
The UK Government has advised Afghan nationals against pursuing other visa routes owing to the difficulties in submitting biometric data in support of applications.