The Salvation Army welcomed the U.K.’s vow today to resettle even more refugees after its current Syria-focused program expires next year.
The Home Office said that the U.K. would welcome between 5,000–6,000 refugees from 2020–2021.
Resettlement involves the relocating a refugee from an asylum country to a permanent home country. Currently, there are more people displaced globally than ever before.
Starting in 2020, the new resettlement scheme will consolidate three existing U.K. programs: the Vulnerable Persons’ Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) and the Gateway Protection Program into a global scheme. The announcement increases the flexibility and geographical diversity of U.K. resettlement.
“At the start of Refugee Week, this is a strong signal of international support for refugees and it places the U.K. among the leading countries for resettlement,” said Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, U.K. Representative for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. “It also makes sense to offer a consolidated, flexible program that responds to where needs are greatest. UNHCR hopes that significant numbers will be welcomed by the U.K. beyond 2021.”
The Salvation Army has worked with local authorities across the U.K. on refugee resettlement since 2016. It was also one of the first organizations to embrace the community sponsorship scheme.
Major Nick Coke, The Salvation Army’s Refugee Coordinator and church leader in South West London, was invited to parliament to hear Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, give details on the scheme.
“We know firsthand the life-saving impact this support is having on people who have fled conflict and persecution,” Coke said. “Our church members, our staff and our volunteers—alongside people from a host of other organisations—have put their hearts into supporting people forced to leave their homes and have enabled resettlement schemes to continue to thrive.”
The Salvation Army will continue its work to shape what refugee welcome looks like in the U.K. for years to come.