At the start of World Refugee Week, Sajid Javid confirmed the UK plans to resettle in the region of 5,000 of the world’s most vulnerable refugees in the first year of the new scheme, once the flagship Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme concludes next year.
The UK will aim to resettle refugees at current levels, adding to the nearly 16,000 refugees who have already found safety here since 2015 under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme and the many thousands resettled under other routes.
Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
Since 2016, Britain has resettled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU state – and it’s vital we continue to do all we can to help the world’s most vulnerable.
Under our new scheme, thousands more people fleeing conflict and persecution will have the opportunity to build a new life in the UK.
I’m proud of the world-leading work we have done in the Middle East and Africa so far – but there is so much more to do.
Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, UK Representative for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said:
We are delighted by this announcement from the UK, which is extending its commitment to offer international protection to a meaningful number of refugees from wherever the need is most acute.
Resettlement is a crucial component of international solidarity for those states bearing the greatest burden and gives refugees the possibility of rebuilding their lives.
We hope this serves as a signal for other countries to provide more routes to safety for those forced to flee as the international community moves to make the global compact on refugees a reality.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said:
The resettlement of thousands of the world’s most vulnerable refugees over the past four years is something the UK can be proud of. I am pleased to hear that the government intends to continue this life-saving programme.
I am delighted that the government recognises the value of communities welcoming refugees through community sponsorship, a scheme I am privileged to have been involved with.
From 2020 refugees resettled through community sponsorship will be in addition to the government’s commitment. I call on faith leaders and communities to make the most of this opportunity to change the lives of more refugees, and transform communities in the process.
The Home Secretary outlined the new plans at a roundtable with faith leaders on resettlement, asylum, and faith-based persecution in Parliament today (Monday 17 June). The immigration minister also met resettled refugees in Lambeth and those who support their integration into communities.
From 2020, the new resettlement scheme will consolidate the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme, the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme and the gateway protection programme into one global scheme.
The new programme will be simpler to operate and provide greater consistency in the way that the UK government resettles refugees. It will broaden the geographical focus beyond the Middle East and North Africa.
A new process for emergency resettlement will also be developed, allowing the UK to respond quickly to instances when there is a heightened need for protection, providing a faster route to resettlement where lives are at risk.
The community sponsorship scheme, which enables community groups to directly welcome and support refugees in the UK, will continue. Refugees resettled under this new community-led scheme will be in addition to the government commitment.
The success of resettlement in the UK has been achieved working in partnership with over 300 local authorities who are participating in delivering the current schemes.
The global humanitarian need continues to grow with over 68.5 million people around the world forced from their homes and nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18. Like its predecessors, the global resettlement scheme will be based on need. We will work closely with the UNHCR to identify the most vulnerable refugees from around the world.