IOHR has launched the #BeARefugeeSponsor campaign to call for the expansion of the UK Community Sponsorship of Syrian Refugees scheme.
To support the campaign, IOHR held an event in Westminster, London – The Benefits of Community Sponsorship of Syrian Refugees – to expand on our primary research into best practice in Canada. The event brought together the leading Canadian and UK practitioners in community sponsorship and IOHR TV was on hand to bring the learning and debate to a wider audience.
In 2014, in response to the unprecedented humanitarian impact of the Syrian Civil War, the UK government undertook the largest resettlement programme in the country’s history offering resettlement for 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 under the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme. This figure was later increased to 23,000 following the introduction of an additional legal pathway called the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme. As of December 2017, The Home Office reports that 10, 538 Syrian refugees have been resettled in the UK.
The reformation of the UK’s refugee programme did not stop there. In July 2016, based on the Canadian model of Private Sponsorship of Refugees, the UK government introduced the Community Sponsorship scheme, giving local communities the opportunity to assume greater responsibility in the global refugee crisis by taking up a leading role in resettling refugee families into their neighbourhood.
By July 2017, 10 community groups had received authorisation from the Home Office and resettled 53 refugees in the UK. 10 refugee families who otherwise would have had to remain in dangerous, and overcrowded detention centres and refugee camps in harsh conditions.
Various community groups, charitable organisations, businesses and universities in the UK are already putting their time and money into helping refugees by offering housing, employment, on-the-job training, language support, bursaries and various scholarships.
In Canada, businesses and schools combine opportunities for employment and higher education with resettlement. The employment and educational pathways do not only empower these individuals but offer a creative way to integration transforming the lives of individuals, families and whole communities involved.
A message from Jim Estill, CEO of Danby Products ltd. Sponsor of 62 Syrian families in Canada
The Benefits of Community Sponsorship of Syrian Refugees panel discussions were recorded by IOHR TV to make sure that everyone could benefit from hearing the expert practitioners debate.