On 9th November 2015 Lord Roberts of Llandudno asked Her Majesty’s Government “how many refugees have entered the United Kingdom under the vulnerable persons relocation scheme for Syrian nationals, and what, if any, are the advantages of that scheme as compared to entry under normal immigration regulations.” The Bishop of Southwark, Rt Revd Christopher Chessun, asked a follow-up question on progress towards implementing a private sponsorship scheme for refugees.
The Lord Bishop of Southwark: My Lords, how close are Her Majesty’s Government to announcing the details of a third route in addition to the two mentioned in the noble Lord’s Question—namely, the introduction of a private sponsorship scheme, in which many faith and community groups have expressed strong interest? This would enable faith communities to work in partnership with the Government and reflects a desire to do this, as expressed by the Bishops in their recent letter to the Prime Minister.
Lord Bates: That is under active consideration at the moment. Of course, many of the people on whom we are focusing at present are the most vulnerable and in need, particularly of medical care and what have you, so they may not be appropriate for the type of generous offer that has been made. But we have talked about creating a register for charities, churches and faith groups to get involved; there is also a page on the government website that tells people how they can get involved. Once the immediate urgency is over and the first group is brought to the UK safely, we will very much want to take up those offers of great generosity by others.