More than 5,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the UK under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme since October 2015, new figures reveal today (Thursday 23 February).
Over 1,200 refugees arrived in the final 3 months of 2016, meaning 5,454 people have been given refuge since the government pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020.
Within this total, approximately half of those who arrived under the scheme were children.
Today’s figures also show Syrian refugees are now being housed by more than 200 local authorities across the United Kingdom. The government continues to work with councils and devolved administrations to ensure placements are available as more vulnerable people arrive.
Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said:
The humanitarian crisis in Syria is unprecedented, which is why this government is undertaking one of the largest resettlement schemes in the UK’s history.
I’m delighted with the significant progress we have made with the VPR scheme so far and vulnerable refugees are arriving here every month.
The hard work will continue throughout this Parliament, as we work with local authorities to provide those who have been displaced by conflict with a safe environment and the opportunity to rebuild their lives.
In September 2015, the government pledged to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrians by the end of this Parliament in 2020. Additionally 3,000 children and adults will be resettled from the Middle East and North Africa through our Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme.
And in 2016, a total of more than 8,000 children were granted refuge or other forms of leave. This included more than 900 unaccompanied children from Europe.
The government has already pledged an additional £10 million in English language funding in order to help the Syrian families improve their English language skills, which are vital to help them in finding work, gain independence and give back to the communities that have welcomed them.
These resettlement schemes are only one of the ways the government is supporting vulnerable children and adults who have fled danger and conflict. The UK government remains the second largest donor in humanitarian assistance and has pledged £2.3 billion in aid to Syria and the neighbouring countries, which has provided:
- over 21 million food rations that feed a person for a month
- over 6.5 million relief packages
- over 6.2 million vaccines
- over 4.8 million medical consultations
The UK has also provided humanitarian support in response to the Mediterranean migration crisis of more than £100 million since October 2015. This includes providing winter clothing, hygiene kits and emergency medical care for those rescued at sea as well as protection for women and girls at risk of being trafficked.