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Syrian Vulnerable Persons Re-settlement Scheme

Refugee crisis - the current position in Cornwall

We continue to work in partnership with the Home Office and local partners, with the UK Global Resettlement Scheme. The plan from the UK government for 2020/21 is for 5000 global refugees to come to the UK. This extends the previous Vulnerable Persons Scheme working in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region to wider geographical areas to meet  need.

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Due to Covid-19 all flights and resettlement pledges are currently on hold following governmental public health advice.

The refugee crisis around the world has doubled since 2016 with a 60% global reduction in pledges of help for resettlement. The needs of people unable to remain in their country due to war, conflict, famine and changes in climate are being unmet.

The highest need is in Africa, with a known refugee population of 46% of the global figure. 5 million refugees are living in areas such as Sudan, the Congo and Somalia.

Refugees arriving in the UK will receive the same levels of service to the previous scheme, with five years 'Leave to Remain' status. Funding remains the same, as do all security checks.

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) wants to provide information on literacy levels within countries to assist local authorities to understand the level of support required, whilst being realistic about how communities could provide effective communication and meet needs.

In Cornwall, due to the limited number of ethnic groups and native speakers for many areas of the world, the knowledge of literacy and level of education will help in providing the plan for resettlement support. An example provided by UNHCR is that the majority of Kenyans speak English, Sudanese use a mix of Arabic and English, with a literacy rate of 76% of the population. Rural communities can then help resettle people from other countries in the world.

Learning from the original scheme has been important in developing the global scheme, including the successes of community sponsorship and managing expectations of new arrivals.

Areas of highest need:

There are 1.5-2 million Afghanistan refugees living in Iran due to conflict and human rights violations. People from Afghanistan are in the main rural people with 75% living in the countryside. 63% of the known Afghan refugees are under 25.  Somalia is witnessing returning refugees being targetted with atrocities of sexual / gender and / or clan violence. Kenya continues to support refugees in large camps from Somalia, however over 50,000 refugees are awaiting forms of documentation. Sudan has 115,000 known refugees and asylum seekers. Libya has 48,000 known refugees. The war in Syria continues, with thousands of people displaced into neighbouring countries and needing a place of safety.

Read about the background to the scheme.

Local initiatives

We have been able to work in partnership with two local Community Sponsorship groups and one joint partnership model. This joint working with local communities, building local connections in the resettlement of families,  is an area we wish to continue expanding.

More information on the Home Office Community Sponsorship scheme is available below or to discuss a possible group contact

National websites

Work in Together for Families

  • Cornwall Council through the government funding provides Caseworker support for all refugee families
  • Joint working with schools and local community groups
  • We are working with the Cornwall Library Service and Digital Inclusion Cornwall providing IT support and lessons all families
  • A Film project created by Florence Brown providing the voice for refugees in Cornwall is on hold. We plan to finish a short film detailing one students’ experience in a secondary school using social distancing in a park


  • We need affordable private rented properties at the Local Housing Allowance (LHA) rate to support more refugee families to create new lives in Cornwall. The families will be able to work, bringing valuable skills and cultural diversity into the county for the benefit of all residents

As part of our ongoing commitment to the scheme, and in partnership with early years, primary schools and secondary schools supporting children within the scheme we have coproduced these two new resources.

How can residents wishing to offer support help?

We will be celebrating Refugee week 15-21 June 2020 - find out how you can join in.  We will continue to support raising awareness of refugee issues.  Please visit our Refugee Week news page for more information on the Giant Dolls House art project.

Alternatively, please see the Government refugee help webpage to find out how to offer help.

Professionals seeking to help refugees on arrival to the UK should contact the Refugee Council.

Cornwall Council resettlement support

Further information