New figures from the Home Office UK Visas and Immigration department show that more than 5,000 Syrian refugees have arrived in the UK under the government’s vulnerable persons resettlement (VPR) scheme since October 2015.
More than 1,200 refugees arrived in the final three months of 2016, bringing the total number of resettled refugees to 5,454 – the government has pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020.
Within this total, approximately half of those who arrived under the scheme were children.
The figures released on Thursday also show Syrian refugees were being housed by more than 200 local authorities across the UK.
The government says it is continuing to work with councils and devolved administrations to ensure placements are available as more vulnerable people arrive.
Immigration Minister Robert Goodwill said:
“The humanitarian crisis in Syria is unprecedented, which is why this government is undertaking one of the largest resettlement schemes in the UK’s history. I’m delighted with the significant progress we have made with the VPR scheme so far and vulnerable refugees are arriving here every month. The hard work will continue throughout this Parliament, as we work with local authorities to provide those who have been displaced by conflict with a safe environment and the opportunity to rebuild their lives.”
Additionally, 3,000 children and adults will be resettled from the Middle East and North Africa through the UK’s Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme.
In 2016, a total of more than 8,000 children were granted refuge or other forms of leave, including more than 900 unaccompanied children from Europe.
The government has already pledged an additional £10 million in English language funding in order to help the Syrian families improve their English language skills, to help them in find work, gain independence and give back to the communities that have welcomed them.
The resettlement schemes are only some of the ways in which the government is supporting vulnerable children and adults who have fled danger and conflict – the UK remains the second largest donor in humanitarian assistance and has pledged £2.3 billion in aid to Syria and the neighbouring countries.
The funding has provided more than 21 million food rations that feed a person for a month, as well as more than 6.5 million relief packages, over 6.2 million vaccines and more than 4.8 million medical consultations.
The UK has also provided humanitarian support in response to the Mediterranean migration crisis of more than £100m since October 2015.
This includes providing winter clothing, hygiene kits and emergency medical care for those rescued at sea, as well as protection for women and girls at risk of being trafficked.
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