Amber Rudd travelled to Ashford to meet men, women and children as they learned English and job skills to help them find work, gain independence and rebuild their lives.
Ashford Borough Council was one of the first local authorities to volunteer to get involved with the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme following its expansion in 2015.
Under the scheme, refugees have been brought to the UK from the region around Syria, including from Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt.
Home Secretary Amber Rudd said:
I was struck by the strength and resilience of these families who have suffered such trauma and heartbreak.
But I am also proud that the UK has been able to bring them here, so they can begin to turn their lives around.
Ashford is an example of how Britain is welcoming and supporting those in need of our help. This training is providing a real difference in helping people establish themselves in their new communities.
More than 5,000 people have been brought to the UK under the VPR scheme but we will continue to work to bring the most vulnerable to this country, to meet our commitment to bring 20,000 from the region.
Ashford has so far found homes for 48 Syrian people, brought to the area to start a new life.
The local authority set up and runs the Language and Industrial Skills Training (LIST) programme with Concept Training. It involves improving the adults’ language and work skills and finds them work placements in Kent to give them experience to help them into employment.
The latest published statistics reveal that a total of 5,454 people were brought to the UK under the VPR scheme by the end of December 2016. Roughly half of them are children.
The Home Office is continuing to work with the UNHCR to identify the most vulnerable in the region and with local authorities across the UK to find them homes and support.
Resettlement is just one of the ways the government is responding to the Syria crisis. We remain the second largest donor in humanitarian assistance and have pledged £2.3 billion in aid to Syria and the neighbouring countries.