Syrian resettlement programme

Syrian resettlement programme

Liverpool is resettling 100 vulnerable Syrian refugees through the government's Syrian resettlement programme over the next 4 years. We are working closely with the Home Office to implement this commitment and to understand what the resource and political/community implications will be for engaging in the programme.

We are also participating in a separate scheme to help support vulnerable unaccompanied refugee children. A small number of these children have already arrived and are being cared for in Liverpool.

We are working with local community and voluntary groups to harness the generosity and commitment that exists amongst Liverpool’s residents and communities. We know that Liverpool is a diverse city and that many residents and community organisations want to offer donations and support. Visit any of the websites on the right for more information on how you can help.

Your questions answered

Is Liverpool funding the resettlement of Syrian refugees?

The government's Syrian resettlement programme provides funding for the full costs of resettlement in the first year.

The refugees arriving under this scheme are funded by the government from the International Development Fund. This will cover costs for providing caseworkers, securing housing, social care, health, education and support to integrate into the community. Each case will be different as each family will have different needs, different skills and be from different backgrounds.

The refugees will be encouraged and supported to find employment as soon as they can.

We will also receive funding from central government for years 2-5 of the resettlement programme, with funding reducing over the period, reflecting evidence from existing resettlement programmes that costs associated with resettlement will decrease over time.

When will Syrian refugees arrive?

We have been working closely with the Home Office over recent months as part of our commitment to resettle 100 Syrian refugees within the city. We are commissioning a service to support the refugees and they will start to arrive in late 2016.  Those we are resettling have been through a tremendous ordeal and are vulnerable. It is vital they are given time and space to settle, with support from the professional services that we have put in place to meet their needs.  We will not be giving further details about the families, where they will be located or wider arrangements. 

How do you know they are genuine refugees, not economic migrants?

In order to qualify for this scheme, people must be within the refugee camps in the region, register with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and must meet one of the following criteria:

  • women and girls at risk
  • survivors of violence and/or torture
  • refugees with legal and/or physical protection needs
  • refugees with medical needs or disabilities
  • children and adolescents at risk
  • persons at risk due to their sexual orientation or gender identity
  • refugees with family links in resettlement countries.

Once registered the UNHCR undertake biometric testing, health assessments and case history gathering. Once cases are confirmed, details are passed to governments of participating countries (UK, USA, Canada and others) for the next stage.

The Home Office then conducts further security and background checks and the government retains the right to reject individuals on security, war crimes or other grounds, including where there is insufficient information to undertake effective screening.

What security checks will refugees have undergone?

When refugees arrive in the UK they have been through a thorough two-stage vetting process. The Home Office works closely with the UNHCR, which has its own robust identification processes in place. This includes taking biometrics, documentary evidence and interviews. When potential cases are submitted by the UNHCR for consideration they are screened and considered by the Home Office for suitability for entry to the UK. This includes taking further biometric data. The Home Office retain the right to reject individuals on security grounds.

Where are they coming from?

The refugees in this scheme will be coming from camps in Turkey, Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and Iraq. Refugees or asylum seekers that have made their way across Europe are not part of this scheme, so none will be coming from France, Greece or any other European Union country.

Will they get preferential treatment for housing?

Refugees will access the local housing market in the same way as all other local residents using ‘eligibility and qualification criteria’ published as part of the Property Pool scheme.

Can they claim benefits?

Yes. As full humanitarian refugees, they can claim benefits and have the same rights and responsibilities as anyone living in the UK.

What is a refugee?

Under the 1951 United Nations convention, a refugee is defined as:

“a person who, owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country.”

This means that:

  • A refugee has proven to the UK authorities that they would be at risk if returned to their home country or they are unable to seek protection in their home country
  • A refugee’s fear of persecution has to be well-founded, e.g. they have to have experienced the persecution personally or be likely to experience it personally if they return to their home country
  • A refugee has had their claim for asylum accepted by the government

A refugee is granted the right to remain in the UK for five years before their case is reassessed.

What is an asylum seeker?

The Refugee Council defines an asylum seeker as:

“someone who has fled persecution in their homeland, has arrived in another country, made themselves known to the authorities and exercised the legal right to apply for asylum”

This means that:

  • Asylum seekers have applied to live in the UK because they fear persecution in their home country
  • The Home Office will consider their case, during which time they can stay in the country
  • An asylum seekers application may be refused or accepted

Asylum seekers can stay in the country whilst their application for asylum is being assessed. This may take several months. During this time they can't work, nor receive government benefits.

An asylum seeker may have their application for asylum refused, in this case they must leave the UK.

If their application for asylum is accepted, they become a refugee and may stay in the UK for 5 years. They will be able to seek work.

What's the difference between a refugee and an asylum seeker?

Asylum seekers are waiting for the Home Office to make a decision about their application to stay in the UK. They're not able work whilst their case is being assessed. They can legally stay in the UK until their case has been assessed. Liverpool has been an asylum dispersal area since 2000.

Refugees have had their application accepted and can stay in the UK. Refugees are allowed to work, must pay taxes and are entitled to the same benefits as any other citizen.