Find out the answers to frequently asked questions about refugees in Torbay

Torbay has agreed to accept families under the Government’s Resettlement Schemes. The number of families we can support depends entirely on the number of properties offered from the private rented sector.

Under the Schemes a property is offered to the Home Office who then match it with an appropriate family. At that stage details of the family make up, ages and particular needs etc are shared with the local authority. The local authority can either accept the case at this stage or reject it if they feel they cannot meet specific needs, for example complex medical needs.

The families supported under resettlement schemes are not asylum seekers.

The civil war in Syria resulted in the world’s single largest refugee crisis with over half of the population fleeing their homes, which resulted in approx. five million people being registered with UNHCR as refugees. The Vulnerable Person’s Resettlement Scheme accommodated 20,000 individuals in the UK over a 5 year period from 2016. Syrians in need of resettlement are still hopeful of being resettled across the world.

Because of the numbers of Syrians and individuals from other parts of the world still in need of resettlement, the Home Office has committed to an ongoing UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS). The Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) was implemented to offer relocation and support to those who had been directly employed by the UK Government in Afghanistan and who may be at risk as a result of the military withdrawal and the changing political situation in the country. The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) has been announced by the Home Office to resettle approximately 20,000 individuals over the next few years. The scheme will prioritise resettlement for those who assisted UK efforts in Afghanistan, who stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech and rule of law. It will also support those vulnerable because of their gender, sexuality, ethnic and religious minorities.

Not everyone who is registered as a refugee will be eligible for resettlement to a different country and resettlement is not a right. UNHCR will explore other resolutions but resettlement is offered to those deemed at most risk.

Victims of war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture, enforced disappearance, rape and sexual violence are factors taken into account when assessing resettlement need.

Humanitarian emergencies and conflicts in other areas of the world such as Yemen, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Venezuela and others continue to contribute to the need for global resettlement.

ARAP – Approximately 15,000 people were evacuated from Afghanistan into the UK by the end of August 2021. The majority will be resettled under ARAP. There will still be people eligible to apply for relocation under ARAP from outside of the UK.

ACRS – 20,000 people over the next few years.

UKRS - is an ongoing commitment from the Government to support resettlement. No numbers associated with this scheme have been published.

The Government provides funding to the council to provide support to the families for the first 3 or 5 years (UKRS is currently 5 years) depending on the individual family’s needs. The funding can also be used to contribute to any particular additional support a family may need including English lessons for adults. Education and health costs are also provided.

No funding is diverted from local budgets

Families will be entitled to access benefits and will be able to work in the same way as UK residents. We will be looking for private rented accommodation, although families would be entitled to social housing. Adults will be able to access adult education.

Based on the anticipated number of families that we will be accepting, the impact on our local labour market for workers will be negligible. We will work with partners to match up the requirements of our job market with any skills that the families will bring with them.

The council will look at what school places are available when families arrive and will allocate appropriately. The health and social care needs of families will be assessed before they arrive in Torbay to consider whether we are able to support them. Any additional needs assessed on arrival will be met through our joint commissioning arrangements.

On arrival families will receive support with local orientation, interpretation, registering with a GP and accessing other services. They will also be assisted to access English classes and look for work. Depending on their religious beliefs they will be supported to access places of worship and wider community groups.

As part of their identification verification on arrival in the UK, the Home Office (HO) will undertake security checks to ensure public safety and maintain appropriate safeguards. Under the ARAP scheme, individuals will also have been security checked in relation to their employment.

Where families enter a scheme via refugee camps, UNHCR have their own robust identification processes in place. When potential cases are submitted by UNHCR for consideration by the HO they are screened and considered by the HO for suitability for entry to the UK. The HO retain the right to reject individuals on security, war crimes or other grounds.

Whilst there is never a guarantee of 100% certainty, refugees must abide by the laws of the country they are resident in and risk losing their status if they fail to do so.