The US State Department on Monday announced a new refugee program for Afghans called the Priority 2 (P-2) designation, which grants the "US Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) access for certain Afghan nationals and their eligible family members," according to an official statement.
"The US objective remains a peaceful, secure Afghanistan. However, in light of increased levels of Taliban violence, the US government is working to provide certain Afghans, including those who worked with the United States, the opportunity for refugee resettlement to the United States," the US State Department said.
The US has seen a major influx of Special Immigrant Visa requests amid the US military withdrawal that is scheduled to be completed by September 11, 2021. The official statement acknowledged that this new immigration provision is intended to open up opportunities for those Afghans and their families at risk:
"This designation expands the opportunity to permanently resettle in the United States to many thousands of Afghans and their immediate family members who may be at risk due to their US affiliation but who are not eligible for a Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) because they did not have qualifying employment, or because they have not met the time-in-service requirement to become eligible."
Below are the specific US State Department terms:
Individuals Eligible for the P-2 Program:
Afghans who do not meet the minimum time-in-service for a SIV but who work or worked as employees of contractors, locally-employed staff, interpreters/translators for the US Government, United States Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A), International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), or Resolute Support;
Afghans who work or worked for a US government-funded program or project in Afghanistan supported through a US government grant or cooperative agreement;
Afghans who are or were employed in Afghanistan by a US-based media organization or non-governmental organization.
Afghans and their eligible family members (spouse and children of any age, whether married or unmarried) can be referred to the P-2 program by a US government agency. For non-governmental organizations (NGO) and media organizations that were not funded by the US government, but are headquartered in the United States, the senior-most US citizen employee of that organization may make a referral.
P-2 Program for Afghan Nationals:
The Department of State has designated certain categories of Afghan nationals as having access to the USRAP by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement.
To manage the P-2 program for Afghan nationals, the State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) created a USRAP Afghan Referrals Workgroup comprised of federal agencies to refer individuals directly to the USRAP.
If an individual is not eligible for the P-2 program, he or she may be eligible for the Priority 1 (P-1) program by virtue of their circumstances and apparent need for resettlement. Individuals may be referred to the P-1 program by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), a US Embassy, or a designated NGO.