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Refugee Resettlement

Volume 689: debated on Monday 8 February 2021

What plans her Department has to continue refugee resettlement after the conclusion of the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme. (911924)

The United Kingdom is a world leader in resettlement. My hon. Friend will know that, in the last five years, we have resettled nearly 30,000 people—more than any other country in Europe. My hon. Friend will be pleased to know that we will be completing the 20,000 people under the VPRS in the coming weeks, and after that we will be continuing to offer further resettlement places beyond that, as far as we are able to, given the current coronavirus circumstances. Beyond that, we will be making announcements—my right hon. Friend the Home Secretary will be making announcements—in the relatively near future about how we plan to continue resettlement beyond that.

My hon. Friend has rightly championed the record of this country and this Government in providing support to the most vulnerable people here and abroad, and it is clearly vital that safe and legal routes to refuge in the UK are available to disrupt smuggling and people trafficking. Is my hon. Friend confident that using the very successful current scheme as a template, the new UK resettlement scheme will have the necessary level of support and funding to resettle refugees effectively and in line with our aspirations?

I can absolutely give that assurance. Of course, our resettlement work will have the financial support it requires. We intend to build upon, but also learn the lessons from, the previous resettlement scheme. There are going to be significant ways in which we can improve it. Not only was our resettlement scheme over the last five years the largest resettlement scheme of any country in Europe, but there is more we are doing. Our refugee family reunion provisions see 6,000 people a year or more come into this country, and just a short while ago our BNO—British national overseas—route opened up, allowing people being persecuted by the Chinese Communist party to seek refuge here as well.