Future of UK Resettlement and Community Sponsorship schemes

Scottish Refugee Council response to Sajid Javid's announcements on UK resettlement and community sponsorship

Home Secretary Sajid Javid has today announced that he will consolidate the Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), Vulnerable Childrens’ Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), Gateway Resettlement and Mandate Resettlement into one UK resettlement scheme. The UK Government has committed to welcome 5,000 refugees a year. A new process for emergency resettlement has also been announced.

Gary Christie, Head of Policy, Communications & Communities:

“Resettlement is a vital durable solution for women, men and children who have fled war and persecution in their countries and are languishing in refugee camps and protracted situations across the world. Creating one global UK resettlement scheme is a very welcome step and one Scottish Refugee Council called for last year.

Scotland has played a leading role in the current UK Government’s Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), resettling nearly 3,000 people since 2015 across every council in the country. We hope that Scotland’s local authorities, working alongside the voluntary sector and communities, will continue to play a major part in this new resettlement programme.

We know that that there is strong public support in Scotland for this too. Forty per cent of people questioned in recent polling believe Scotland should continue to welcome the same number of people seeking protection as it currently does, with over another 25 per cent saying we should welcome more than this.  

Scottish communities have been reluctant to take part in the UK Government’s Community Sponsorship scheme, whereby communities themselves lead the welcome and support to a refugee family. This was not due to hostility. Communities queried the purpose of them taking part in a Sponsorship scheme if the numbers taken in were not additional to those expected under the existing VPRS scheme.

It is therefore a very welcome step that refugees arriving through Community Sponsorship in the future will be in addition to those resettled through the new Government resettlement scheme.

Additionally, we hope that this will allow named individuals to be resettled, and allow family members dispersed across the world to join refugees resettled here.

As further details emerge, we look forward to securing commitment from the Home Office that resettled refugees under the new scheme will be granted indefinite leave to remain on arrival as currently happens under the Gateway scheme; improved support is given to support refugees’ long-term integration; and the third sector’s role in supporting resettled refugees is fully recognised and funded.  

 As we approach World Refugee Day and Refugee Festival Scotland, communities across Scotland are preparing to celebrate the contribution that all refugees bring to their communities whether they have been resettled or apply for asylum.

Resettlement as a route of protection is critically important but equally vital is the protection we offer those refugees who claim asylum directly in the UK. The UK Government must uphold this protection and its obligations to both resettlement and the asylum process."

 

Background

Response to consultation on future of UK Resettlement - February 2018

In early 2018, the cross-government Resettlement, Asylum Support and Integration Directorate sought stakeholders’ views on the future of resettlement to the UK, after the UK Government’s current resettlement commitments end in 2020. Scottish Refugee Council felt strongly that the various strands of resettlement programmes should be consolidated into one global resettlement scheme, and highlighted the importance of Community Sponsorship.

View our full response here: Future of UK Resettlement Scottish Refugee Council response FINAL 002

Research report on Community Sponsorship in Scotland - November 2018

A report on Community Sponsorship in Scotland carried out in late 2018 sought to find out the key barriers to communities being interested in the programme. Many communities had not heard about the scheme, and those who had were wary that it was a cost-cutting exercise by the UK government which shifted responsibility to communities for resettling refugees. Communities queried the purpose of them taking part in sponsorship if the numbers taken in were not additional to those expected under the VPRS scheme.

View the full report here: Community Sponsorship in Scotland Report November 2018