The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s inspection of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), published today, gives the Home Office and delivery partners credit for the success of the scheme, acknowledging that it “is delivering what it set out to achieve”.
The inspection examined the efficiency and effectiveness of the VPRS, with a view to assessing whether the 20,000 target will be met. It found that there is every reason to believe that the VPRS will achieve its 20,000 target by the May 2020 deadline. However, while it found that the processes on which the VPRS relies are essentially effective, the Independent Chief Inspector David Bolt expressed his disappointment that the Home Office appears closed to the idea that there is any room for improvement. He highlights that the Home Office disputes or rejects several of the report’s findings in its response to the inspection.
One clear area requiring improvement is the support and preparation refugees receive before they travel to the UK. Refugees wait on average 35 weeks after being accepted onto the scheme before they travel. Yet their preparation for life in the UK is limited to a two day cultural orientation workshop, two weeks before they travel. The report describes this as a case of “too little, too late”, especially as many have little or no English, and calls on the Home Office to make better use of this time.
Anna Musgrave, Head of Advocacy, said:
“This report confirms that the Home Office can be rightly proud of all it has achieved to date in resettling people fleeing the Syrian conflict to the UK.
However, while there is much to commend, there is still clearly room for improvement. Resettlement offers a lifeline to some of the most vulnerable refugees in the world and there is no room for complacency: it is quite literally, a scheme that saves lives.
We urge the Home Office to build on the successes of the VPRS, and to grasp any opportunity for learning and improvement with both hands, ensuring the UK remains a global leader on resettlement of refugees.”