Syrian Refugee Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme

Frequently Asked Questions

Home Office Questions

How does the Home Office choose who comes to the UK?

The Syrian VPR is based on need. Women and children at risk, people in severe need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence amongst others.

How will these people be accommodated? Where will they go when they are here?

The Home Office are working with a wide range of partners including local authorities and civil society organisations to ensure that people are integrated sensitively into local communities.

How will you ensure refugees are dispersed fairly and in a way that manages the impacts on local communities and services?

The Home Office are determined to ensure that no local authority is asked to take more than the local structures are able to cope with and capacity will be managed in a fair and controlled way.

How will the arrival of 20,000 refugees be spread out?

It will take several years to reach full commitment but when we do we would expect to bring in roughly several hundred refugees each month over the course of the Parliament, subject to continuing need and capacity.

How can people help now?

People can already make donations to charities and volunteer to help local refugee support groups. We would encourage that to continue but we will also be consulting partners on options to do more - including ways to sponsor refugees alongside those supported by the government.

Torfaen Questions

Why Torfaen - what are we doing and why?

Torfaen’s Cabinet decided in September to participate in the Syrian Refugee Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme following the UK Prime Ministers response to the crisis in Syria to resettle 20,000 refugees across the UK over this parliamentary term.

A summit chaired by the Welsh Government’s First Minister was held in Cardiff during October to respond to the challenge, in which all Welsh Councils have agreed to participate.

A Welsh Government National Taskforce is providing support and guidance and all Local Authorities in Wales will be participating.

Torfaen has set up a local task and finish group made up of Local Service Board partners and wider stakeholders to coordinate our activities this group is chaired by Cllr David Daniels and three other groups providing operational, community engagement and training/information support

Torfaen has responded positively and will be accepting two families before Christmas and four families in the New Year.

The families will arrive in early December and Torfaen has commissioned case management support services in readiness through Displaced People in Action

The families are very ordinary people who live very ordinary lives, but have been touched by brutal events.

More than 200,000 people have lost their lives as a result of the Syrian conflict, and many more are fleeing for their lives.

Supporting the refugees in Torfaen is a response to the many people across the county who called on the Council to respond positively to the crisis in Syria.

How can people help now?

People can already make donations to charities and volunteer to help local refugee support groups.

What do we know about selection and pre arrival?

Incoming arrivals are ‘refugees’, not ‘economic migrants’ or asylum seekers as outlined as part of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (SVPRS).

Vetting of the families is very rigorous and has taken a number of weeks to complete.

The SRVPRS is a managed scheme responding to the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict and living in the areas around Syria.

The families will be coming from accommodation in the areas around Syria and have been vetted by United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and through our own UK security services. They have also received medical screening including immunisation against diseases we in the UK have already received.

The UNHCR and IOM have identified the families as victims of torture and they have been granted 5 years full humanitarian protection.

Having full humanitarian protection means the refugees are not asylum seekers or economic migrants but are people who have faced terror and require our protection.

All individuals granted protection has undertaken security checks within Syria. Security checks include biometric which means that their identity has been checked and individuals have also been checked against their military history and political affiliation to identify issues of concern such as links to extremism and if found to be true prevented from leaving Syria.

All documentation is checked, family histories are included along with school achievements, work history and details to how they meet the scheme

What we know upon arrival in the UK?

Families will be resettled in the borough and all housing costs are covered.

The first families will be arriving with very young children.

A specialist support provider will be commissioned to provide essential translation and interpretation services and day to day support, local orientation and link to the partners.


The Home Office will be funding the resettlement scheme, there is no financial impact on Torfaen.

The Home Office will cover all costs during the first year. This means that no local organisation will incur any costs during this period. Discussions are ongoing with the Home Office to secure additional funding to cover any additional longer term costs.

The Council will be the ‘banker’ and will work with partners to deliver the programme.

Who are the partners? They include Health, Police, Education, Social Care & Housing, Community Cohesion, 3rd Sector partners, charities, faith organisations, specialist support agencies, Welsh Refugee Council and independent advocacy.

After the first year of funding, the expectation is that families should be fully integrated in the community with access to services all other UK residents receive.

All support and translation costs are covered.

Education, Health and Social Care costs will be fully funded. Costs to support any specialist health provision are also funded for the first year.

Local Services

The Group which is coordinating Torfaen’s response to the crisis is composed of all relevant partner organisations, including Gwent Police, RSL/Housing Associations, the Council, Aneurin Bevan Health Board, the voluntary sector (GAVO), Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) and Town and Community councils, SEWREC, Welsh Refugee Council, BAWSO, Womens Aid, Home Office, Wales Migration Partnership

Incoming people will be placed in a mixture of private housing and social housing to minimise disruption to local people.

This work does not in any way affect the support already given to homeless people in the county.

Like everyone else, refugees will be entitled to seek employment and to claim social benefits as part of the scheme. If these people claimed benefits, they will also be subject to the same sanctions as anyone else should they breach the terms of their benefits agreements

The refugees will be supported to learn English in order to help them to integrate in the community. Welsh lessons will also be offered to them.

Limited number of incoming refugees means that mental health and social care services will not be put under additional stress. Those services have adequate capacity to offer such provision.


With careful management and partnership working there is no reason why the additional need for housing cannot be managed across Wales.

We are using private landlords and social housing landlords to house the families. Families move in and out of Torfaen all the time throughout the year so the small numbers involved here coming to Torfaen won’t have any impact on housing demand which changes each week.


Syrian refugees will have their health needs assessed prior to leaving the refugee camps. When individuals arrive they will of course receive health care according to their clinical needs, as would any Welsh resident. Funding for health care costs in year 1 is being provided by the UK Government and the Government is currently considering what funding will be available in years 2-5.

Why Wales?

The Welsh Government has responsibility towards international migrants living in Wales under its housing, health, education, social service functions and through its community cohesion agenda.

Although powers relating to asylum and migration are not devolved, the Welsh Government has responsibility to migrants living in Wales under its housing, health, education and social service functions and through its community cohesion agenda. As a result the Welsh Government is a key player in relation to the inclusion of migrants in Welsh society.

When will the first Syrian refugees come to Wales under the VPRS?

Week beginning the 7th December

How many are coming to Wales?

Unknown at present, Torfaen has indicated it will resettle around 6 families

What is Wales doing?

The Welsh Government are very pleased that each and every local authority in Wales has said they are open to welcoming refugees to their community.

Syrian refugees arriving in Wales have been through terrible experiences and may not want media attention. The most important thing is that Wales is offering a place of safety where they can start to rebuild their lives.

All 22 local authorities in Wales have expressed an interest in helping to resettle refugees but they are all at different stages in the process.

Last Modified: 05/12/2018
For more information contact:

Call Torfaen

Tel: 01495 762200

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