The first anniversary of the government’s historic commitment to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable victims of the Syrian conflict by 2020 was today (Wednesday 7 September) marked by the arrival of a flight to Stansted airport carrying more than 100 Syrians, who will now be safely housed in the UK.
The government has been working closely with local authorities and the devolved administrations across the UK since announcing the resettlement plan, in September 2015, and the 20,000 local authority places required to meet the landmark pledge have now been secured.
The Home Office has also announced a new £10m funding package to boost English language tuition for those arriving under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS).
Latest figures (until end of June 2016) show more than 2,800 Syrians have arrived in more than 100 local authority areas under the scheme.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
Securing the 20,000 pledges only 12 months after we made the commitment is testament to the immense goodwill and generosity of the British people and the effort and determination of local authorities across the UK.
We are on track and delivering our commitment to help the most vulnerable Syrians displaced by the conflict.
The hard work will continue throughout this Parliament as we provide those who have been traumatised and damaged by war with a safe environment and the chance to rebuild their lives.
The additional funding for English language training will mean all adults arriving through the scheme anywhere in the UK will receive an extra 12 hours a week of tuition, for up to 6 months.
This is in addition to the language support already provided by local authorities, which is accessed by refugees within a month of their arrival and will assist families to integrate into their new communities more quickly and make it easier for them to seek and obtain work.
Many people across the country who have offered their time to help refugees improve their English can now sign up and pledge their support via the Help Refugees in the UK website.