Refugee Action welcomes first Syrian refugees arriving in Scotland

Last updated November 17, 2015Press release

After a summer of campaigning, resulting in David Cameron’s pledge to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees in the UK, Refugee Action today welcomes those arriving in Scotland under the government’s expanded Vulnerable Person’s Relocation Scheme.

Europe is currently in the grip of the world’s worst refugee crisis since the Second World War, with millions fleeing the horrors of conflict and persecution.

Refugee Action, the UK’s leading charity on refugee resettlement, has been working tirelessly to secure a better deal for those arriving in the UK.

Refugee Action Chief Executive, Stephen Hale, welcomed the new arrivals, saying: “We are delighted to see the Prime Minister’s pledge become a reality as Syrians, whose lives have been torn apart by five years of civil war, arrive safely in Scotland.”

He emphasised the importance of an effective and sustainable resettlement programme over the next five years: “Executed properly, resettlement will allow vulnerable refugees to rebuild their lives with dignity and will ensure meaningful integration with local communities. It is vital that the government works closely with local authorities and experienced charities to get this right.”

Refugee Action, which has over 30 years’ experience on refugee resettlement, highlights six essential components of a resettlement programme that, if executed properly will meet the needs of refugees and give them the opportunity to rebuild their lives in the UK.

A successful and sustainable resettlement programme must:

  • Fund all essential costs such as health, education, community care and English classes
  • Set up programmes with a focus on fostering independence and not creating dependency, and front loading support that is tailored to refugees’ particular needs
  • Ensure refugees have access to mainstream, community-based housing upon arrival so that they can begin the process of integrating straightaway
  • Provide support in a way that helps refugees access existing mainstream services and enhances these services’ ability to support the refugees, rather than replicating services or putting additional pressures on them
  • Involve long-standing resident communities where refugees settle, through providing information and enabling positive relationships to form
  • Enable local people to play a part in supporting refugees, with appropriate training and support

Media enquiries

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact the Refugee Action media office.