Syrian resettlement programme

The UK government’s Syrian vulnerable persons resettlement programme focusses on Syrian refugees who have fled to the countries around Syria and are registered with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR identifies individuals and families who are particularly vulnerable for medical or other reasons. The UK government carries out security screening before deciding whether to accept a family.

If the UK government agrees to resettle a Syrian family, it gives them a humanitarian visa for five years. This gives family members the right to work and to use public services.

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

In Devon, the city and district councils are responsible for housing. Each council has taken its own decision about how many families it is aiming to house. These are the pledges and progress at March 2018:

City/district councilPledge (families)Firm offers (houses found)Families arrivedPeople
East Devon84418
Exeter128624
Mid Devon5229
North Devon41 15
South Hams66623
Teignbridge75522
TorridgeNot specified 116
West Devon44418
Total46+3129125

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.

Sign up to keep in touch with what Devon is doing and how you can help >

Contact email address: refugeesupport@devon.gov.uk