What we are looking for here is the creation and development of resettlement schemes. These are schemes through which the government hand picks the people it will grant asylum to before they have applied in the UK. They do this often in cooperation with UN Human Rights Agency (UNHCR) which works in refugee camps in third countries – that is, the government selects cases directly from refugee camps in third countries, and after a screening process they organise their arrival and resettlement in the UK. Two such schemes are currently in place: the Gateway Protection Programme and the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.
- The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme has been comfortably reaching its targets, with over half of its 20,000 resettlements by 2020 target being reached by December 2017. However, there is so far no indication that the scheme is being expanded. Moreover, the government’s response to an independent report on the scheme dismissed many of its recommendations for the future, which were geared towards increasing its efficiency and its ability to increase intake.
- The situation regarding the Gateway Protection Programme is less clear: the last published funding statistics date back to 2013, and the Refugee Council last mentioned it when publishing the scheme’s projected intakes for 2017. In light of this lack of recent information, it is hard to assess whether this scheme is still running, or whether resettlement focus has been pivoted towards the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.
Given the lack of any announcements since the last election regarding the future of the resettlement schemes, we are marking this policy as ‘not started’. As soon as we see any evidence of plans to create or expand resettlement schemes, we will mark it ‘in progress’.
Hold on, there’s more!
- About us – UNHCR
- Over 10,500 refugees resettled in the UK under flagship scheme – Gov.uk
- Funding for Gateway Protection Programme, 2009-2013 – Gov.uk
- About us – Refugee Council
- Gateway Resettlement Programme – Refugee Council