Scotland takes 1,800 Syrian refugees over last two years

Scotland has welcomed more than a quarter of all Syrian refugees who have arrived in the UK in the past two years, it has emerged.
Syrian refugee families arrive at their new homes in Scotland. Picture: Getty ImagesSyrian refugee families arrive at their new homes in Scotland. Picture: Getty Images
Syrian refugee families arrive at their new homes in Scotland. Picture: Getty Images

Just over 7,000 refugees have arrived in the UK through the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPRP) since 2015, of which 1,800 have settled in Scotland.

The figures come after a report suggested vulnerable lone refugee children in Europe have been left in danger and at risk of trafficking by the British Government which has not taken any child refugees this year under the Lord Dubs scheme.

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This is despite committing to resettle 3,000 youngsters from Syria by 2020.

SNP Edinburgh Northern and Leith MSP Ben Macpherson said: “It’s excellent that Scotland has welcomed over a quarter of those Syrian refugees who have arrived in the UK, under the resettlement programme, since 2015.

“But more needs to be done – in what is an off-the-scale humanitarian crisis that’s difficult to comprehend here at home.

“A recent all-party inquiry revealed that the UK public would not tolerate the UK government turning away from this humanitarian crisis if they were more aware of what was happening.

“It also reported that UK ministers have done ‘as little as legally possible’ to help unaccompanied lone children who have fled war and conflict, which has left them vulnerable to trafficking.

“It’s time for the UK government to significantly step up its refugee resettlement efforts in the midst of what is possibly the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.”

Home Office ministers have confirmed in written answers that only 200 children were transferred under Dubs in 2016 after the closure of the Calais camp and 280 local authority places remain to be filled.

The Dubs amendment, known as section 67, was passed in April 2016 amid a campaign to bring 3,000 lone refugee children stuck in camps in Europe to Britain. Ministers initially estimated local authority capacity at 350 but extended it to 480 in April after saying there had been “an administrative error” in the initial figure.

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Unicef last week branded it “unacceptable” that no children brought under the Dubs scheme this year.

Nicola Sturgeon penned a personal letter to Syrian refugees a year ago when 600 had arrived , stating that “Scotland is now your home”.

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