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The Covid-19 pandemic has interrupted the UK’s existing refugee resettlement programmes and led to uncertainty over its future plans for resettlement.

There haven’t been any resettlements to the UK since March 2020. The Government has said that resettlement under the scheme for vulnerable people affected by the conflict in Syria will resume “shortly”. Slightly more than two hundred places remain available through the scheme. Significant numbers of arrivals are unlikely before 2021.

The Government hasn’t confirmed its plans for launching the new ‘UK Resettlement Scheme’. This had been due to launch in 2020, after the commitments under existing schemes had been met. Local authorities and other stakeholders say they need certainty of the Government’s intentions and funding commitments. Without this, they warn, they may need to scale back their own commitments in respect of resettled refugees.

This short briefing gives an overview of recent Government statements on the resumption of resettlement in the UK and its plans for the new UK Resettlement Scheme. Commons Library briefing Refugee Resettlement in the UK (6 March 2020) has more detailed information about the development of refugee resettlement programmes in the UK over the past five years, including the background to the new scheme.

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