Violence and civil unrest in Syria has led to UK Government offering resettlement places to the most vulnerable Syrian families. Since the last week of March, the first of these families has begun arriving in the country to rebuild their lives in safety.
‘The arrival of the first refugees will transform, if not save people’s lives’, says Maurice Wren, Chief Executive of The Refugee Council. ‘It marks an extremely significant watershed in the UK’s response to the humanitarian catastrophe gripping the country and its surrounding areas.’
Opening UK borders could help many Syrians build their lives again and the government has insisted that the programme is going to be needs rather than numbers tested. However, current government plans to support only several hundred refugees over the next three years could also mean tens of thousands of families continue to face exposure to dangerous living conditions back in Syria.
‘Over 2.5 million refugees have now fled the conflict and as a result, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is now calling on governments around the world to help resettle 130,000 people over the next three years,’ adds Wren.
But what help is available for those who do arrive here? Under the Government’s Vulnerable Person’s Relocation scheme, refugees will be granted five years’ humanitarian protection and will be able to access to public funds once they enter the country.
As well as standard housing and benefits, however, these families will need help accessing a wide range of support so they can integrate fully. Finding out about entitlements to healthcare and where to access it, filling out school applications, learning English and building links within the local community are just some of the activities which organisations like KKF can assist with.
Klevis Kola has already begun working with our first Syrian referrals and we expect to see this number increasing over the coming months as more refugees arrive under the new scheme.