Scotland takes twice UK average of refugees

The Scottish Government has welcomed twice as many Syrian refugees as the UK average, new statistics have revealed.

Syrian refugee families arrive at their new homes on the Isle of Bute on December 4, 2015 in Rothesay, Isle of Bute, Scotland. Picture: Getty Images

Under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, 18,676 people fleeing from Syria have resettled in the UK – with Scotland welcoming 3,180 of them, 17 per cent of the total.

In 2015, the British Government committed to taking in 20,000 Syrians driven from the country by 2020.

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The SNP said the UK government was failing to meet its responsibilities.

SNP MSP Linda Fabiani said: “Scotland has a long history of welcoming refugees and asylum seekers from all over the world, and as a nation we have stepped up to meet our global responsibilities in tackling the refugee crisis.

“Our ambition for Scotland is an unashamedly international and outward-looking country. And it’s heartening to see communities across Scotland welcoming those fleeing conflict in Syria with open arms.

“By contrast, the UK government has neglected its responsibilities – instead choosing to ramp up their anti-immigrant rhetoric and policies to make the UK a hostile environment for those who want to come here, or have no other choice.

“With Boris Johnson as Prime Minister, that’s only set to get worse.

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“The resettlement programme is about helping families in desperate need to build secure lives, and helping people fleeing trauma to feel safe. The UK government must do more to follow Scotland’s lead, and to build a fair and humane immigration system.”

Scotland welcomed its 2,000th Syrian refugee at the end of 2017 – meeting its target of resettling refugees through the VPRS three years ahead of schedule.

Since the onset of the civil war in Syria in 2011, more than 12 million people are thought to have fled their homes.

Britain’s Refugee Council says the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme “aims to help the most vulnerable – survivors of torture, people with serious medical conditions, and women with children. They are identified by the UN then screened by the Home Office before being resettled in the UK.

The Scottish government said: “People across Scotland have every right to seek and receive assurances that robust security checks are being carried out and that public safety is not being compromised.

The Scottish Government is working closely with the Home Office who have robust and thorough screening processes in place for refugees arriving in the UK. The Home Office have also been working closely with the UNHCR who have their own robust identification processes in place.”