The resettlement of vulnerable refugees in Bristol

The resettlement of vulnerable refugees in Bristol

Information on Bristol’s resettlement scheme for vulnerable refugees, what it is and how it will change after 2020.

Bristol City Council is working with the Home Office to support the resettlement of vulnerable refugees. 

We've supported the Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme and the Resettlement of Vulnerable Children scheme. 

What are the UK’s resettlement schemes 

The UK has three vulnerable person’s resettlement schemes that it operates in partnership with the: 

  • United Nations High Commissioner For Refugees (UNHCR)
  • International Organization for Migration (IOM)

The three schemes are:

  • The (Syrian) vulnerable persons resettlement scheme (VPRS)
  • The vulnerable children resettlement scheme (VCRS)
  • Community Sponsorship Scheme

The VPRS and the VCRS will end in spring 2021. 

The schemes are delivered by the Syrian Resettlement Team in the Adult Care department within People. The UK also has the Community Sponsorship Scheme. 

This scheme gives community sponsors and groups the responsibility of supporting a refugee family who are already being resettled in the UK under either the VPRS or the VCRS. 

The Bristol Resettlement Schemes

We have had a target of resettling 100 families or 400 people from the Home Office Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme by April 2020. 

The VPRS team resettled 73 families, which is 366 people. 

An additional 27 additional people are supported by the team who are children. They will be joined their family through family reunion, or who are babies born to resettled families after their arrival in the UK . 

In Bristol there are also three community sponsorship groups who have resettled four refugee families, an additional 21 people.

A holistic package of support is provided to the resettled families including help related to health, education, language and job opportunities.

Unfortunately, the VPRS and VCRS were suspended in mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19. 

The UK’s resettlement schemes from 2020

From 2020 the Conservative Government plans to consolidate the VPRS, the VCRS and the Gateway schemes into one ‘global resettlement scheme.’ 

This scheme will also incorporate the community sponsorship scheme. 

The new UK Resettlement Scheme will aim to resettle around  5,000 refugees in its first year of operation. The targets beyond the first year are not publicly known. 

The scheme will continue to focus on refugees in “greatest in need of assistance, including people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk.” 

It will have an expanded geographical focus beyond the Middle East and North Africa.

The Bristol Offer

The Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme Film highlights the importance of resettlement. 

It changes the lives of families who have suffered immeasurably through the impact of war in their home countries. 

The Bristol Resettlement Scheme together with partners in the NHS have provided lifesaving treatments for nine children and three adults, and life changing treatments for many more children. 

The financial cost

The Local Authority is funded by the Home Office and in return is required to support each refugee for five years. 

The four community sponsorship families are funded by the sponsorship groups. 

The Government funds the first 12 months of a VPRS and VCRS refugee’s resettlement costs through the overseas aid budget. 

Further funding

Further funding is provided for years 2 to 5 of the scheme which is allocated on a ‘tariff basis’.

In practice, this means that the Government reimburses the local authority. The Home Office funds schools per pupil for the first 12 months after arrival and the CCG can claim funding for medical costs per person.

The resettled refugees are entitled to work, receive benefits and receive health care for five years after their arrival in the country, therefore living costs are not covered by the local authority. 

The local authority provides the resettled refugee families with private rented sector housing for the five years they are on the scheme. 

Ninety resettled refugee households live in the private rent sector and five now live in social housing.