Allocations Process

Read the Home Office Resettlement Policy Statement

Content contained in this page is taken from the Resettlement Policy Statement available on - accessed 30/11/2018

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

UNHCR is the internationally recognised and UN mandated agency for dealing with refugees. It has a global presence and more than 65 years’ experience in handling refugee crises. We rely on UNHCR to help us to identify and process vulnerable refugees who would benefit from resettlement.  UNHCR has responsibility for all out-of-country casework activity relating to our resettlement schemes.

They will:

  • verify identity and family composition;
  • interview registered refugees to determine their experiences and current circumstances in the host country;
  • identify refugees with potential resettlement needs and assess their vulnerability;
  • conduct a full Refugee Status Determination (RSD); and
  • conduct a resettlement interview and assess that refugees meet the criteria for resettlement in accordance with UNHCR’s resettlement handbook before referring them to the UK for consideration.

Our Resettlement Schemes

Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS)

Under the VPRS, the UK will resettle 20,000 refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict by 2020. It is accessible to refugees who have fled the conflict and who have been referred to us by UNHCR.

The scheme is only for refugees still in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region (i.e. in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey), not those who have travelled to Europe. Refugees must have fled Syria because of the current conflict (i.e. after March 2011). The scheme is open to refugees of all nationalities. Refugees are assessed for resettlement by UNHCR against their resettlement submission categories:

  • Legal and/or Physical Protection Needs;
  • Survivors of Violence and/or Torture;
  • Medical Needs;
  • Women and Girls at Risk;
  • Family Reunification;
  • Children and Adolescents at Risk;
  • Lack of Foreseeable Alternative Durable Solutions.

Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS)

The VCRS is a commitment from the UK to resettle up to 3,000 children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region by 2020.

The VCRS is open to vulnerable children and their families in Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, where UNHCR deem resettlement to be in the best interests of the child. The scheme is accessible to all ‘children and adolescents at risk’ as defined by UNHCR, which encompasses unaccompanied children as well as those in families or with care-givers (an adult who UNHCR is satisfied has assumed legitimate responsibility for the child). The scheme is open to refugees of all nationalities.

Examples of the types of cases which UNHCR may consider for resettlement under the category of ‘children and adolescents at risk’ include:

  • Children without legal documentation
  • Children with specific medical needs
  • Children with disabilities
  • Child carers
  • Children at risk of harmful traditional practices (including child marriage and female genital mutilation)
  • Children at risk of being forced to work
  • Children associated with armed forces or armed groups
  • Children in detention
  • Children at risk of refoulement (forcible return to a country where they are liable to be subjected to persecution
  • Child survivors of (or at risk of) violence, abuse or exploitation including sexual and gender based violence.

Selection Process

UNHCR will conduct a full Refugee Status Determination (RSD) and resettlement consideration, as they are mandated to determine whether an individual meets the 1951 Convention definition of a refugee and are best placed to assess their protection needs. Having determined that the individual is a refugee UNHCR will then consider whether resettlement is the right long-term solution for them, and then to which country or resettlement scheme they should be referred.

If UNHCR consider that an individual should be referred to the UK for resettlement, they will send us a Resettlement Referral Form (RRF) which confirms that the individual has been determined by UNHCR to be a refugee according to the terms of the 1951 Convention. The RRF is a summary of both the RSD and the resettlement consideration. This is processed by our casework team, who determine whether the case should be accepted for resettlement to the UK.

Our caseworkers manage the inward flow of referrals from UNHCR, assessing the eligibility of referrals through a caseworking process and commissioning relevant screening and security checks. Caseworkers do not reassess vulnerability. UNHCR are internationally recognised experts in assessing vulnerability and by referring the case they are recommending that the persons fall into one of their resettlement submission categories and have needs which mean they should be resettled in the UK. UNHCR have access to more detailed case information – which will have been gathered during the extensive interviews they conduct during various stages of resettlement processing – and have a better understanding of circumstances refugees face in host countries.

Security checks

We take security extremely seriously in cases referred to us for resettlement, working closely with UNHCR. UNHCR screens out cases for resettlement consideration in accordance with the safeguards built into the 1951 Refugee Convention. When potential cases are submitted by UNHCR for consideration they are screened and considered for suitability for entry to the UK: we retain the right to reject individuals on security or other grounds.

We will not resettle individuals who have committed war crimes, crimes against humanity or other serious crimes outside the country of refuge, in line with the Convention. For this reason, caseworkers must pay particular attention to an individual’s:

  • previous occupation; and
  • military history; and for VPRS cases:
  • involvement with the Syrian authorities;
  • activity during the Syrian conflict; and
  • their journey from Syria to the host country

All information taken from the Home Office Resettlement Policy Statement.

All information taken from the Home Office Resettlement Policy Statement.

Last modified
Friday, June 21, 2019 - 13:12
Key things to do
  • Find out more about how refugees are identified by UNHCR
  • Understand who is eligible to be supported through Community Sponsorship