Bishop of Durham asks about plans for restarting refugee resettlement scheme

On 25th November the Bishop of Durham received written answers to questions on the resumption of the refugee resettlement scheme:

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 28 October (HL9221), what plans they have to ensure that once the refugee resettlement schemes are resumed, the commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable refugees through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme will be fulfilled, in addition to the new Global Resettlement Scheme commitment of 5,000 per year. [HL10217]

The Lord Bishop of Durham: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 28 October (HL9221), what assessment they have made of the impact that the suspension of the refugee resettlement schemes has had on (1) local authorities, and (2) the (a) financial sustainability, and (b) long-term capacity, of other refugee resettlement service providers. [HL10218]

Baroness Williams of Trafford: We have been working closely with key domestic and international stakeholders on plans to safely resume UK resettlement arrivals against the backdrop of unprecedented restrictions and pressures caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result of this work, and as announced by Baroness Williams of Trafford in the House of Lords on 9 November, the UK will shortly restart UK resettlement arrivals to fulfil our commitment of resettling 20,000 refugees affected by the conflict in Syria under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and we are working closely with partners to deliver this commitment.

Due to the lead times for refugee arrivals, it is likely that we will see most refugees start to arrive early in the new year.

Decisions regarding resettlement beyond the completion of this scheme are yet to be made and will need to take account of the impact of COVID-19 and the ongoing pressures on the asylum system. We have committed to a review of safe and legal routes to the UK. We are aware that the pause in resettlement has had an impact on our resettlement partners and will continue to work with them as future plans are developed.