The Covid-19 pandemic interrupted the UK’s refugee resettlement activities and led to uncertainty over its future resettlement plans.
Resettlements to the UK were put on hold in March 2020 and only began to resume at the end of the year. The Government has recently confirmed that the remaining small number of people due to be resettled in the UK from the conflict in Syria are expected to arrive in early 2021.
The Government has also reaffirmed its intention to launch a new ‘UK Resettlement Scheme’ after the end of the Syrian scheme. There is some uncertainty about whether the Government’s plans for the new scheme will resemble the model previously outlined. The timescale, number of places to be offered, and funding arrangements, also remain unconfirmed. Local authorities and other stakeholders are warning that without certainty of the Government’s intentions and funding commitments to the new scheme, they may have 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.