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.

Opportunities for the Expansion and Diversification of Refugee Sponsorship

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

27th February 2018, One Birdcage Walk, Westminster, London

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.

Panel 1 – The UK Community Sponsorship scheme for Syrian Refugees

Moderator:  Trish LynchIOHR TV Correspondent • Major Nick Coke Refugee Response Coordinator for The Salvation Army • Bekele Woyecha Senior Project Manager of Sponsor Refugees • Chris Clements Director at Reset and Director at Social Finance • The Baroness Hamwee Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson for Immigration

Panel 2 – Educational Pathways: How to engage the Educational Community in Refugee Protection

Emma Williams Chief Executive of Student Action for Refugees • Dr. Ansems De Vries, Leonie Lecturer in International Relations at King’s College London and Coordinator of the Migration Research Group • Michelle Manks Manager for Campus Engagement and Student Refugee Program at the World University Service of Canada

Panel 3 – Employment Pathways: How to engage the Business Community in Refugee Protection

Pranav Chopra CEO NEMI • Chris Clements Director at Reset and Director at Social Finance • Mohammed Alsaleh • Syrian Canadian Advocate, TEDx Speaker and a Refugee Sponsorship Trainer

A reminder of the plight of the Syrian Refugees


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