We have the exciting news that we expect to be welcoming another Syrian family soon. This is not a further wave of the government programme, but a single family who had previously resettled elsewhere and needed to come back to North Yorkshire.
We believe the family may be here before Christmas. We feel this is really special because we only have 2 Syrian families in Ripon and so they’ve felt a bit out on a limb and isolated. This move helps to build a tiny community here.
They will be renting a house which is privately owned.
Further families in future?
The next government resettlement wave would have brought more refugee families to the Harrogate district (which includes Ripon) next year. However, COVID-19 has suspended that programme and we now don’t expect to see any new arrivals until 2022. This has been crushing for the families who had already been told they had the lifeline of resettlement and were already preparing to come to the UK and may have had their medicals, Home Office interviews by Skype, etc.
A bit of background on the programme…
The Syrian families currently in Ripon came under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (SVPR) scheme. This has now been merged with the Vulnerable Children Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) and the Gateway Protection Programme, creating the Global Resettlement Scheme. In its first year, the UK government plans to resettle 5,000 refugees in Britain, with a focus that includes but also now extends beyond the Middle East and North Africa.
Relevant news stories:
- “It’s killing us” – Syrian refugees who were set for a new life in the UK were crushed when coronavirus struck and the government resettlement programme was suspended. Many had already sold possessions and left employment in preparation to leave for the UK, leaving them with very little. And a freezing winter is setting in. More in the Independent.
- “Patel’s asylum plans lack sense and compassion” – Instead of pursuing cruel and unethical means of controlling immigration, the Home Office must focus on providing safe and legal routes to the UK, write Jewish campaigners for racial equality, while Richard Hargreaves describes Priti Patel’s proposals as indefensible. More in the Guardian, October 2020.