Plans to accommodate 50 Syrian refugees will take a step closer to reality when a report is discussed by the City Council’s Cabinet on October 20.
Last month a motion was passed at a full city council meeting, confirming a commitment to offer refuge for 50 individuals through the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme.
Since then, ongoing discussions with the Home Office have confirmed funding will be made available to councils such as Birmingham to cover the cost of services provided to refugees for at least the first two of the five years of the relocation scheme.
The report to Cabinet outlines that the money will cover orientation, accommodation and support services – with the council now set to ensure a contract is in place no later than January 2016.
Cllr Shafique Shah, Cabinet Member for Inclusion and Community Safety, said: “The situation in Syria is a humanitarian catastrophe, and it is only right that cities like Birmingham play their part in offering shelter to some of the world’s most destitute people.
“We have a proud history of welcoming people from around the world to make their homes here – the package of support we have secured from the Government will enable us to work with all our partner agencies. Working together we will be in a position to integrate people with some incredibly complex needs into day-to-day life in Birmingham.
“A workshop and briefing has been carried out with potential support providers and we look forward to considering all proposals and getting things in place as quickly as possible between now and the New Year.”
Given the council is undertaking a procurement process to deliver the support, the exact financial details remain commercially confidential at this point.
Notes to editors
1. The Syrian VPR scheme prioritises those in the greatest need who cannot be supported effectively in the region by giving them protection and support in the UK. The scheme prioritises people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of torture and violence, and women and children at risk. All applicants are subject to the usual immigration checks and screening prior to a visa being granted. Those with a criminal past or links to war crimes or extremism are excluded from the scheme.
2. Those who are accepted under the VPR Scheme are granted humanitarian protection giving them leave to remain for five years with full access to employment and public funds and rights to family reunion comparable to refugees. They are required to enrol their biometrics in order that a Biometric Residence Permit can be issued. At the end of five years if they have not been able to return to Syria, they may be eligible to apply for settlement in the UK. Settlement may be refused if the person is convicted of a criminal offence during their leave and will be refused if they pose a danger to the public, or to national security. Leave to remain can also be curtailed if such evidence comes to light during the initial five-year period. Settlement can also be revoked if evidence emerges after it has been granted.
For more media information please contact Kris Kowalewski on 0121 303 3621