Under the well-established practices of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), the Home Office is working closely with UNHCR, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government to resettle the families.
The Home Secretary Sajid Javid said:
White Helmets volunteers saved the lives of thousands of innocent civilians during the Syrian conflict and suffered terrible losses in the process.
I am therefore proud that the UK is resettling these brave individuals and their families and giving them the opportunity to rebuild their lives here.
The Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said:
The actions of the White Helmets demonstrate true modern day heroism. They are rightly respected for their courageous, life-saving work and have previously been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. We welcome the first White Helmets to be resettled in the UK.
These brave volunteers have rushed to pull people from the rubble when bombs have rained down on Syria and I’m proud that the UK has led the way in their evacuation and resettlement.
International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
The White Helmets who have risked their lives to rescue thousands of Syrian civilians are facing persecution from the Assad regime. We should be so proud of Britain’s role supporting their life-saving work and now providing them and their families with sanctuary and helping them rebuild their lives.
We are also exploring how we can learn from their valuable experience and expertise protecting civilians in need.
The White Helmets are a civil defence organisation that has saved over 115,000 lives and protected the Syrian people who are bearing the brunt of the conflict.
The UK has already resettled over 12,800 of the most vulnerable refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, with the government on track to meet its commitment of resettling 20,000 by 2020.
Over £2.71 billion has been committed by the UK government since 2012 to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable people in Syria and of refugees in the region making it one of the largest donors. This is the largest ever response from the UK to a single humanitarian crisis.