The Syrian Vulnerable People's Resettlement Scheme was announced by the Home Secretary on 29 January 2014. It is designed to provide assistance to Syrians who have fled to neighbouring countries as a result of the current crisis and who are particularly vulnerable.
Coventry joined the scheme in July 2014, and since then we have become one of the leading cities in the UK for the resettlement of refugees. As of 22 September 2020, 577 Syrian refugees have been welcomed into the city under this scheme.
In October 2016 Coventry joined the Vulnerable Children's Resettlement Scheme. This scheme focuses on the resettlement of vulnerable children and their immediate families from the Middle East and North Africa. This scheme is run in the same way as the Syrian VPR scheme. As of 22 September 2020, 120 refugees have been resettled under this scheme.
Coventry City Council leads a partnership of organisations throughout the city, in order to deliver this programme. Our key partners are Coventry Citizens Advice, Coventry Refugee and Migrant Centre, St Francis of Assisi Church (Radford), Foleshill Women's Training, and Positive Youth Foundation.
The UK Home Office is responsible for setting the criteria under which people are resettled into the UK, and oversees the schemes. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) submits potential cases for the Home Office to consider. Once a case has passed this initial stage, the International Organisation for Migration (IoM) will conduct a full medical examination. Case files including this information are then sent to participating local authorities for consideration on the grounds of medical needs, availability of accommodation, and the potential impact on local services.
The City Council has committed to resettle 125 people per year. The schemes are due to end in 2020.
Funding for resettlement schemes is provided by the Home Office.
Home Office funding is used to secure accommodation for the first year. However, we have not used the City Council's existing housing stock, meaning that social housing waiting lists have not been affected.
Coventry Schools will receive a grant for each child attending under the resettlement schemes. This is to aid their education and integration into the UK's school system, whilst reducing the impact on school budgets.
All refugee and asylum seekers in Coventry are assigned to the City of Coventry Health Centre. This means that local GP surgeries have not been affected by either scheme.