Supporting Syrian refugees in Derbyshire
Derbyshire councils have joined up with health colleagues, voluntary and community groups and other agencies to respond to Government plans to expand its Syrian vulnerable person resettlement scheme (VPRS).
Over the next five years 20,000 Syrians will be resettled across the UK and along with other local authorities we've been asked by the Government to offer them a home.
We've agreed to welcome 50 refugees who will be relocated within their family groups in Derbyshire.
Our Cabinet Member for Health and Communities Councillor Dave Allen said:
"We cannot imagine the danger and distress these people face every day. Death and suffering on this scale should not be happening and we need to act.
"The Government has asked us to support this resettlement scheme and we've agreed to welcome a small number of refugee families to Derbyshire because it's the right thing to do.
"It's nothing more than doing our fair share and we're working alongside other councils and local agencies to do what we can to help them."
Number of Syrian refugees coming to Derbyshire and when
We'll initially welcome around 50 refugees in two intakes of around 25. They are likely to arrive in family groups of between four and six people.
Where the refugees will live
Five Derbyshire district and borough councils have agreed to rehome refugee families. They'll be housed in areas with the greatest number of available social rented properties and we're working closely with housing providers to find suitable accommodation.
Where the refugees come from and who they are
Refugees will be taken directly from camps in the countries neighbouring Syria through a controlled form process via the Home Office and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
Priority is being given to people who can't continue to live safely in their own country. These include women, children and young people at risk, people in severe need of medical care, survivors of torture and violence, refugees with medical needs or disabilities and people at risk due to their sexual orientation.
Cost of relocation scheme and who will pay for it
The Government has approved funding for five years. After this time it anticipates their support requirements will be minimal.
Health and education services will receive their funding directly from the Government.
Jobs and benefits
Refugees will be granted a five-year humanitarian protection visa. This will allow them to apply for jobs and any welfare benefits they may be entitled to in the same way as other Derbyshire residents.
GPs, dentists and school places
Our refugees will be granted a five-year humanitarian protection visa which entitles them to the same health and educational benefits as other Derbyshire residents.
Looking after the refugees when they arrive
Due to the vulnerable nature of people who need rehoming and the complex nature of the issues they will face we've created two officer posts to support the coordination of the resettlement scheme. These will be paid for by Government funding.
We've also commissioned a support service to work with the refugees on a day-to-day basis to help them settle and integrate into their new community. This will also be met by Government funding.
Unaccompanied and asylum seeking refugee children
We've agreed to welcome a small number of unaccompanied and asylum seeking refugee children (UASC) to Derbyshire in line with the Government's National Transfer scheme.
The scheme started in July 2016 and is designed to ensure an equal distribution of UASC across the country from areas including Syria, Afghanistan and Eritrea.
Distribution is based on each local authority taking up to 0.07% of its total child population unless they have the resources to offer more.
If the transfer scheme progresses as the Home Office anticipates and Derbyshire is required by the Government to reach its full 0.07% threshold it could mean up to 97 asylum seeking children being accommodated in the county.
These will come either from other local councils which have a high number of UASC or possibly from camps abroad in the future.
Health and security checks
Derbyshire's five Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) will lead on health issues for the refugee relocation programme.
This will involve ensuring refugees have access to local health services and have undergone checks including immunisations and screening for infectious diseases.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) carries out a series of checks, including a robust identification process, before referring a refugee to the resettlement scheme.
The Home Office carries out further screening, including medical and security checks, before entry to the UK.
The Home Office have the right to reject potential refugees on security, war crime or other grounds.
By the time a UNHCR-referred refugee arrives in the UK they have been through a two-stage vetting process so the Government has a clear record of who is entering the country.
Find out more in the Syrian vulnerable person resettlement fact sheet (opens in a new window)
How long refugees will stay in Derbyshire
Refugees will have the right to apply to stay permanently in the UK after five years if they choose to do so.
You can help
Many charities and organisations are to provide help and assistance to refugees and asylum seekers. These include:
- British Red Cross Appeal (opens in a new window)
- Oxfam (opens in a new window)
- Save the Children's Child Refugee Crisis Appeal (opens in a new window)
- Refugee Council Crisis Appeal (opens in a new window)
- UNHCR's Emergency Appeal (opens in a new window)
- UNICEF (opens in a new window)
- The World Food Programme (opens in a new window)
Volunteering to help refugees
Several charities and organisations are working with refugees across the UK. To find out more about volunteering opportunities in your area (opens in a new window) visit the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.
You could also contact the Refugee Council (opens in a new window), the British Red Cross (opens in a new window) or Refugee Action (opens in a new window) to find out more about volunteering to support asylum seekers and refugees already in the UK.
You can also offer help via the British Red Cross information line tel: 0800 107 8727.
Offering a propertyIf you're a landlord who would like to offer accommodation please contact your housing authority which is your local district or borough council
The following document is in Portable Document Format (PDF). You can download software to view PDF documents for free from the Adobe website (opens in a new window)
- Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement (VPR) Programme - Guidance for local authorities and partners (127KB)