Since 2014 the UK has expanded refugee resettlement programmes. These work with international agencies to bring people directly from refugee camps in emergency situations straight to the UK. People who have been resettled are given refugee status and provided with statutory support around integration, including language, housing, benefits, health, education and so on.
Since 2015 the main resettlement programme has been for people affected by the Syrian war (20,000 people will arrive in the UK over five years), and for vulnerable children and their immediate families from the wider North Africa and Middle East region (3,000 over five years).
There has also been a smaller programme of relocation for up to 480 unaccompanied child refugees living in Europe who want sanctuary in the UK.
Resettlement and relocation depend on the agreement of individual local authorities.
Scottish Faiths Action for Refugees supports resettlement and you can find out further information about our work:
- The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (Syrian VPRS) is the main route for resettled refugees to Scotland. All 32 local authority areas have taken part in the Syrian resettlement programme, and since 2015 more than 3,500 people have arrived. The scheme runs to 2020 and we are keen that faith groups work with local authorities and other partners to contribute to successful integration.
- A new Global Resettlement Scheme has been announced as the successor to the existing programmes; from 2021 it is expected around 5,000 people a year will be resettled and it will be open to people affected by a broader geographical range of refugee emergencies, not only from North Africa and the Middle East.
- An Afghan Citizen’s Resettlement Scheme has been announced with no definite start date. It will resettle people from Afghanistan who have been identified as being at risk and welcome up to 20,000 people in the coming years. All 32 Scottish local authorities have agreed to take part in this scheme.
- Community Sponsorship is an element of resettlement, whereby a local group – such as a faith community – can directly support the arrival and integration of a refugee family. From 2021, people resettled under community sponsorship will be counted in addition to the Government’s own resettlement targets.