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Refugee Action responds to UNHCR report on Syrian resettlement

By November 9, 2017November 15th, 2017Press release
Syrian refugees and Refugee Action volunteer in local butcher shop

Refugee Action has welcomed a UNHCR report that calls for increased English language support for resettled refugees.

The UN Refugee Agency’s study, Towards Integration, finds the UK’s Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme, launched by the Government in 2014 in response to public outcry over the refugee crisis, has had a successful start.

More than 8,000 refugees have arrived through the programme so far and the Government has pledged to resettle 20,000 refugees by 2020.

The report highlights areas for improvement including English language provision and support to find employment.

Refugee Action is the biggest provider of support for refugees arriving through the scheme and works in partnership with local authorities across England to welcome Syrian families.

The Government has made a welcome commitment of extra funding of £10m to help refugees arriving through the scheme to learn English. But Refugee Action is calling for investment to enable all refugees in Britain to have the same access to at least eight hours of English lessons a week.

Stephen Hale, chief executive of Refugee Action, says: 

“Brits should feel proud that thousands of families have already been welcomed as part of this programme.

“But it’s essential that refugees resettled here are given the right support to successfully rebuild their lives.

“It’s no surprise UNHCR highlights that support for refugees to learn English must be improved. Our research shows current provision isn’t fit for purpose and that refugees can wait up to three years to start learning.

“More investment is needed to ensure all refugees in Britain have timely access to English language classes. Giving refugees the chance to integrate, find jobs and volunteer is a no-brainer.”


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