Resettlement Scheme sees Sheffield rehomes more Syrian refugees
Sheffield welcomed 77 more refugees fleeing the Syrian war to its city between 2019-2020 as part of the government’s Resettlement Scheme to rehome Syrians who are escaping terror in their home country.
COVID-19 travel restrictions mean the scheme is currently halted. It is expected that once the restrictions lift, those being resettled in various UK cities will become part of the goal to rehome 20,000 Syrians in Britain.
However, charities and activists are asking the government to give further guidance for the resettled people and the organisations supporting them in the long-term. It is thought once the goal of rehoming 20,000 Syrians has been reached by the UK government that the scheme will end, yet refugees will still require ongoing support.
Sheffield’s rehoming of the 77 refugees under the vulnerable persons and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Schemes in 2019-20 is an increase from the previous year where the Northern city accepted 70 Syrian refugees. Nationally, the acceptance of refugees dipped from 5,020 to 4,450 within two years.
The Government has almost reached its 20,000 goal with 19,768 granted humanitarian protection due to the ongoing war crimes and human rights abuses in Syria.
The Government has almost reached its 20,000 goal with 19,768 granted humanitarian protection due to the ongoing war crimes and human rights abuses in Syria. The scheme was first launched in 2014 with then-Prime Minister David Cameron announcing it.
Head of Resettlement at Refugee Action, Louise Calvey, said: “A lack of clarity on what happens after March 31 next year is threatening the future of refugee resettlement, because local authorities providing services to people are unable to plan for arrivals and arrange necessary support for vulnerable families.”
In 2018, Conservative MP Amber Rudd stated that the UK government would be exploring the possibility of resettling more than 20,000 individuals under the scheme after reaching its target.
Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has made it clear that their approach to immigration into Britain will be a hostile one
However, Boris Johnson’s Conservative Party has made it clear that their approach to immigration into Britain will be a hostile one. Home Secretary Priti Patel’s soon-to-be-implemented immigration policy has come under fire for insulting key workers such as those in the food industry by continuing to label them as “low skilled” and stipulations of salary requirements rule out many potential migrants such as those working in retail, care, and the food industry.
The resettlement scheme has come under criticism due to its slow, shaky beginnings. Activists and professionals working to uphold refugees’ human rights criticised the government for its approach to the scheme with child refugees trapped in unsafe conditions, such as refugee camps in Greece and France.
The resettlement scheme has provided thousands of Syrian refugees with the potential for a new start for themselves and their families. But, as Louise Calvey states, without a plan for the future there is a risk families will lose out. If the government is unable to provide a succinct plan to meet the needs of individuals who may require language support, health services due to the physical and mental turmoil of living through a war and support to access education or work, the UK does its new citizens a great disservice.