Syrian Vulnerable Persons Re-settlement Scheme

The current position in Cornwall

Cornwall continues to work in partnership with the Home Office and local partners, through our commitment to the UK Global Resettlement Scheme. The plan from the UK government for 2020/21, is for 5000 global refugees to come to the UK. Extending on the previous Vulnerable Persons Scheme. Working in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, to wider geographical areas to meet growing need.

Covid-19 has affected the resettlement scheme. However, following UK guidelines flights have resumed.

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

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

Arriving refugees to the UK will receive the same levels of service from the previous scheme. With 5 years Leave to Remain status. Funding remains the same, as does all security checks.

UNHCR wish to provide information on literacy levels within Countries to assist Local Authorities to understand the level of need. And be 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; this knowledge of literacy and level of education will help in providing the plan for resettlement support. An example, provided by UNHCR is that Kenyans in the majority, speak English and the Sudanese use a mix of Arabic and English language. 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 million to 2 million Afghanistan refugees living in Iran due to conflict and human rights violations. Afghanistan people are in the main are rural people with 75% living in the countryside. 63% of the known Afghan refugees are under 25 years old. Somalia is witnessing a targeting of returning refugees to the Country with atrocities of sexual/gender violence and clan violence. Kenya continues to support refugees in large camps from Somalia, however over 50,000 refugees are awaiting forms of documentation to be in the country. 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.

Local initiatives

Cornwall Council has been able to work in partnership with five local Community Sponsorship groups and one joint partnership model. This joint working with local communities and building local connections for 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, please contact

Cornwall Council, through the government funding, provides Caseworker support for all resettled refugee families. And will work with community groups and partners to create new ways of working.

Joint working with schools continues, and we save our learning across the county.

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.

Please take a look at our short films below:

Serena Collins, Commissioning Manager, Together for Families

Community Sponsorship - Falmouth and Penryn welcome refugee families

Launceston Community Sponsorship Group

Ahmad, a young refugee

Waleed, Refugee Coordinator, Together for Families

Cornwall made a formal offer to the Home Office, in December 2015, to resettle Syrian families travelling to the UK under the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Scheme.

We offered to provide resettlement, as part of a five-year programme. We have successfully offered resettlement to a number of families into our local communities and work continues to support any individuals willing to provide accommodation at affordable rents and groups wanting to be part of community sponsorship.

We will continue to work with the Home Office and South West Migration Partnership to determine what part Cornwall can play, in supporting Syrian refugee families, over the next five years.

A multi-agency partnership, set up by the Council and supported by the Home Office, is working together to support Syrian refugee families that are resettled in Cornwall. The partnership consists of Cornwall Council – including housing, education, adults, children’s, and localism services, NHS Kernow, Job Centre Plus, Inclusion Cornwall, Devon and Cornwall Police, Careers South West and community and faith representatives.

To prepare for refugee families, the group mapped availability of schools’ places, primary care services, access to language and religious support and availability of private sector rented accommodation. Work continued to take place with local community groups and individuals who have expressed a wish to provide help to the refugees.

John Pollard, Leader of Cornwall Council said: “Cornwall has a proud record of being open-hearted and inclusive and we are looking forward to being able to welcome our first Syrian families. It is hard for us to imagine what refugees have been through, but we hope that they will be able to find a new start here in Cornwall where they will be able to feel safe and free from persecution.”

Refugees resettled in the UK through the Government scheme are provided with a full medical check-up and security vetting before they arrive in the country. They are flown directly from the countries bordering Syria to England and those families that come to Cornwall will be met by representatives of the Cornwall Refugee Partnership and taken to their new homes.

To protect their privacy, the partnership will not be in a position to provide any details about any Syrian families resettled in Cornwall, but we can confirm they will not initially be housed within social housing stock.

In his statement to the House of Commons on 7 September, the Prime Minister announced that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of the Parliament. These refugees will be taken from the camps in the countries neighbouring Syria using the established process for identifying and resettling refugees. The Prime Minister also announced that the criteria for the existing Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme will be expanded. The scheme prioritises those who cannot be supported effectively in their region of origin: women and children at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence.

The Home Office and Department for Communities and Local Government are working with local authorities to put in place the arrangements to house and support the refugees.

How will the arrangements for settling Syrian refugees operate and be funded?

The first 12 months of a refugee's resettlement costs are fully funded by Central Government using the overseas aid budget.

The Government has also committed to the allocation of a further £130m by 2019-20 to local authorities to contribute to the costs of supporting refugees beyond their first year in the UK.

Funding continues to be provided through central government from point of arrival until year 5 of resettlement. No Council funding is used in the service delivery of the refugee scheme.

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