On 10 November, the UK Government announced that the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme will restart ‘as soon as possible’ and we anticipate arrivals of refugees in early 2021.
What does this actually mean?
The UK will fulfil the VPRS commitment of welcoming 20,000 refugees. As per the last immigration statistics, this will mean that 232 refugees will be able to find safety in the UK through local authority and Community Sponsorship resettlement.
This is not an announcement on the launch of a new scheme such as the UK Resettlement Scheme, and we urge Community Sponsorship Groups to continue to ask their MPs and elected officials to campaign for a long term resettlement commitment to be made. We had previously understood that the continuation of the scheme was directly linked to the comprehensive spending review but at the Home Office Resettlement Stakeholder Engagement Group on 12 November, it was stated that the decision to extend the resettlement scheme is subject to a Ministerial review. There is no timeline available for when this will complete.
What is the impact for Community Sponsorship Groups immediately?
Groups affected will have been contacted by the Home Office. Please respond to their queries as soon as possible. You will be asked to produce up to date application forms to reflect any changes in your group as well as signing and dating the application form. If there are significant changes such as how you will work with interpreters, assist with digital services or change to ESOL provision, you should reflect this too.
If you are a group who have approval in principle or have applied to the Home Office, and have not been contacted, there is no change to your status. If you have been asked to make changes to your application, or the Home Office are asking for more detail, please do make sure you send these changes through to them, this will advance your application and demonstrate how ready to welcome you are as we all call for an announcement on resettlement.
We strongly urge you to not enter financial or legal agreements unless you have been contacted by the Home Office.
We haven’t put in our application, what should we do?
We encourage you to keep working on your applications and getting these into the Home Office, who continue to process applications as far as possible. Demonstrating the readiness and willingness of neighbours and friends across the UK to welcome is the biggest signal we can send the Government that resettlement programmes must be extended.
We are in the beginning stages of our Community Sponsorship journey, should we keep going?
Absolutely yes! Whilst you shouldn’t enter any financial or legal agreement, do start your work and aim to get applications in. We have heaps of support for Groups starting out.
Will Reset offer training to groups who will be welcoming?
Yes – as soon as family referrals are made to Community Sponsorship Groups, we will get your training booked in. We’ll be securing information on what the welcome you provide to the family you support will look like. You should be prepared for things to change as time progresses, but we know that the creativity of Community Sponsorship Groups will be able to respond to this. We’ll be here to support you along the journey too.
This is the first I’ve heard about Community Sponsorship, what can I do?
Register your interest in Community Sponsorship today - and ask your friends to do so too!
We will be communicating further changes through our newsletter – please make sure you are signed up to receive this.