Refugee resettlement programme

Refugee resettlement plays a key role in the global response to humanitarian crises: it saves lives and offers stability to refugees most in need of protection. Refugees are displaced by conflict, violence and persecution. They do not leave their countries out of choice. The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it, and our resettlement schemes enable us to give the opportunity of a new start to those who have been forced to flee their homes.

Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS)

The Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) was launched in January 2014 and has helped those in the greatest need, including people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk. This scheme ended in February 2021.

Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS)

The Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) was launched in 2016, with the aim of resettling up to 3,000 ’at-risk’ refugee children from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including their families. This scheme also ended in February 2021.

UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS)

The UKRS reaffirms the UK’s ongoing commitment to refugee resettlement, which continues to be an important component of the UK’s humanitarian response. Under the UKRS, the UK will continue to offer a safe and legal route to vulnerable refugees in need of protection.

Community Sponsorship scheme

The Community Sponsorship scheme enables community groups to directly welcome and support a resettled family into their local community. The Scheme was established in response to the desire of civil society to support refugees and is an example of effective government and civil society collaboration.

Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)

The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) offers relocation or other assistance to those who served alongside our armed forces in Afghanistan and provided important support to Her Majesty’s Government defence and security mission there, predominantly those who were employed directly, or in certain special cases via contractors, and who are assessed to be at serious risk as a result of such work.

Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS), prioritises those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights and freedom of speech, the rule of law; and vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk. This scheme will resettle up to 20,000 people at risk.

Devon stands with Ukraine

Devon stands with Ukraine and the Local Authority has information and support for those seeking to come to Devon or interested in the ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme.

Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) Welcome Programme

People from Hong Kong and a British National (Overseas) are able to apply for a British National (overseas) visa. This is known as a BNO visa which allows them to live, work and study in the UK. This can be for a period of 30 months (which can be extended by a further 30 months) or a period of 5 years. They can apply from outside or inside the UK (apply for settlement) and apply for British Citizenship 12 months after settlement.

Refugee resettlement in Devon

Councils volunteer to participate in refugee resettlement and can control the rate at which families arrive. In Devon, councils house families in private rented properties that the landlord has offered or agreed to rent to refugee families. Refugee families do not get any preferential treatment for housing.

All eight district councils in Devon have made pledges for their continuing support of resettlement in 2022/23. These pledges are for resettlement through UKRS, ARAP and ACRS which are operated by local authorities and community sponsorship groups. District councils will review their decision to participate annually or when decided by chief officers and/or elected members.

In Devon, the city and district councils are responsible for housing and support for resettled families is coordinated by Devon County Council working with community organisations. This is our progress at November 2022:

Area Families resettled: Local Authority Families resettled: Community Sponsorship People resettled
East Devon 4 4 38
Exeter 5 4 68
Mid Devon 6 26
North Devon 7 37
South Hams 6 1 26
Teignbridge 8 1 37
Torridge 3 17
West Devon 5 22
Total 44 18 271

Devon has formed a partnership to help families to settle in and lead independent, safe and productive lives. This includes professionals from the NHS, education and social care who make sure that local services will be able to meet refugees’ needs.

Community and voluntary organisations are taking the lead in helping families get to know the local area and UK culture, make contact with faith and support groups, learn English and where possible get into work.

Refugee families have been through great hardship and settling in a new country is a huge challenge. Families are entitled to privacy, so councils will not make individual announcements about the timing and locations of resettlement.

Contact email address: refugeesupport@devon.gov.uk.