The UK is to accept up to 20,000 refugees from camps on the Syrian border by 2020, with orphaned children taking priority.
The Prime Minister made the announcement on Monday (07/09/15), after calls for Britain to do more to help ease the refugee crisis spreading across Europe.
In the first six months of 2015, more than 220,000 people are reported to have crossed the Mediterranean seeking safety from war zones in Africa and the Middle East. Many refugees making their way to European countries are fleeing conflict in Syria, which has been ongoing for the last five years. An estimate 11 million people have had to flee their homes and a further 220,000 are thought to have died in the war.
The UK has granted humanitarian aid to Syrian refugees since 2011 and is now taking part in the UN programme to resettle refugees. Around 5,000 Syrian refugees have been granted asylum in the UK since 2011, with a further 216 resettled under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons scheme.
Councils will receive funding for the first year of resettlement – and many are calling for a guarantee of further funding to help house and support refugees in the community.
As well as the UK’s asylum system, the government operates three resettlement programmes with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) – Gateway, Mandate and the Syrian Vulnerable Persons scheme.
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