The IRC has clear recommendations on how best to support integrating refugees so that those who have landed in the UK after fleeing conflict and crisis can truly thrive as they build their lives again.
IRC UK is proposing a way forward and is calling on the UK Government to:
Commit to bringing 10,000 of the most vulnerable refugees to the UK each year via their UK Resettlement Scheme.
Providing safe routes for refugees means offering protection and safe ways of reaching the UK so that refugees don’t have to resort to dangerous journeys, such as crossing the English Channel in small boats. One safe route is resettlement. Resettlement remains the primary, and often only, durable solution for refugees most at risk and/or experiencing extreme vulnerabilities.
Unfortunately, even places under these routes are extremely limited. There were 1,391 people resettled in the year ending September 2022, around one quarter of the number in 2019. Resettlement numbers in these schemes have not yet returned to levels seen for the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), which was introduced initially in response to the situation of Syrian refugees.'
The UK should commit to resettling its fair share of refugees by providing at least 10,000 resettlement places per year under its UK Resettlement Scheme.
Develop a National Strategy for Integration
When refugees and asylum seekers don’t have the information and tools to navigate their new country, it hinders their ability to rebuild their lives and means UK society cannot benefit from their diverse strengths and contributions.
The UK currently does not have a strategy for integration or sufficient early integration support for new arrivals. That is why IRC UK is recommending that the UK Government develop a National Strategy for Integration, which includes English language, the right to work, and employment support so that new arrivals have the tools they need to meaningfully participate in and contribute to their communities.
Clients who want to find work in the UK need more hours of English lessons per week. Tailored English language lessons that are relevant to refugees’ specific needs, abilities and professional backgrounds will help refugees as they look for employment in the UK. Offering family-friendly classes that provide childcare support would also improve accessibility for refugee women learning English.
Reappoint a dedicated Minister for Refugees
Richard Harrington was Minister for Refugees between 8 March 2022 and 6 September 2022. Having a ministerial post can help deliver faster and more coordinated support for refugees in the UK.
Reappointing this role reflects the importance of the issue and will support a systematic and coordinated Government response.
Read the IRC’s full report FROM HARM TO HOME: How the UK Government can strengthen refugee resettlement and integration.