Since it began in 2011, the civil war in Syria has caused mass movement of Syrians, both within the country and to neighbouring countries. Syrians now make up the largest refugee population in the world, with almost five million having fled to neighbouring countries to escape the conflict. In January 2014, the UK Government announced that it would establish a Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement programme (the programme) to allow selected refugees to resettle in the UK. The programme was relatively small in scale, resettling 239 refugees up to the end of September 2015. In September 2015, the Government announced that it would expand the programme to resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees in the UK by May 2020. The programme became the joint responsibility of the Home Office (the Department), the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for International Development. It is open to Syrians registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Lebanon, or with the government in Turkey, and who meet one or more of UNHCR’s criteria for vulnerable groups. The Department and its partners successfully met their initial target to resettle 1,000 Syrian refugees as part of the programme by Christmas 2015. By the end of June 2016, a total of 2,659 Syrian refugees had been resettled, making up 13% of the overall target.
4 January 2017