UNHCR welcomes UK resettlement announcement

“We welcome the UK Government’s announcement today (July 3) that it will broaden the criteria for inclusion in its Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) to all nationalities who have fled the Syria conflict, rather than Syrians alone. This will help provide life-saving resettlement opportunities to particularly vulnerable non-Syrian refugees fleeing the crisis who sought refuge in Syria, but had to flee again as a result of the conflict.

The VPRS is an important manifestation of international responsibility-sharing at a time of rising global numbers of forcibly displaced.  UNHCR will continue to work closely with the UK to identify the most vulnerable refugees, from the countries surrounding Syria, for resettlement in the UK.

We estimate that the number of people in need of resettlement globally in 2017 is 1.19 million, but only a small fraction of that number will ever be resettled. Our hope is that governments around the world, including the UK, will continue to make efforts at addressing these immense needs by resettling or finding alternative legal pathways for greater numbers of refugees.”

 

Background

The UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced today that the VPRS would be expanded to include refugees of all nationalities who have fled the conflict in Syria to neighbouring countries. In 2015, the Government committed to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees from the Middle East and North Africa Region (MENA) by 2020 and more than 7,000 Syrians have already arrived in the UK through the scheme. The announcement means that vulnerable refugees of any nationality, not just Syrian, who fled the conflict to neighbouring countries and are unable to safely return to their home country could now be resettled in the UK. There has been no change to the 20,000 commitment. The Government partners with the UNHCR on the Syrian VPRS to identify the most vulnerable refugees, from the areas surrounding Syria, for resettlement in the UK. In addition, the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme will resettle up to 3,000 of the most vulnerable children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region by 2020.

 

Media contact: