Refugees are fleeing persecution, violence and conflict and are often unable to travel far beyond the borders of their home country. They often live in refugee camps or urban settings for years; many children have lived their entire lives in refugee camps. One of the ways in which the UN’s Refugee Agency (UNHCR) helps such refugees is to offer resettlement to another country.
In the UK, there are several schemes:
- Gateway Resettlement Scheme – this scheme has been running since 2004. Groups of refugees are chosen by the UNHCR and resettled to cities across the UK. Currently, 750 refugees are resettled per year under this scheme.
- Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (VPRS) – In September 2015 the then Prime Minister, David Cameron, announced that the UK would resettle 20,000 refugees from Syria by 2020, in addition to those resettled under the Gateway scheme (A statement in Aug 2017 announced that over 8500 people have been resettled under this scheme so far).
- The Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme was announced in April 2016 and pledged to resettle 3000 unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable refugee children.
- The Dubs Amendment was also passed in April 2016, pledging to resettle an unspecified number of unaccompanied minors from camps in Europe to join family members in the UK. 200 young people were resettled in 2016 as part of this scheme but in Feb 2017, the government announced that the scheme would be capped at 350 places.
In July 2016, the government also announced a Community Sponsorship scheme where a community group can take on the role of supporting a resettled family (providing accommodation and integration support).
What CoS groups are doing in this area:
- Advocacy and Campaigning
- Sponsorship / Resettlement
- Befriending, Welcome Projects and Mentoring
- Working with Councils / Authorities