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Refugee Resettlement

Resettlement in Scotland is part of a global response to humanitarian crisis and offers a pathway to safety to those who can no longer remain in their home country.

In its role as the strategic migration partnership (SMP) for Scotland, COSLA facilitates the refugee resettlement and relocation efforts across all 32 Scottish local authorities, working closely with the UK Government, the Scottish Government and other key partners to coordinate and match people being resettlement in Scotland to appropriate accommodation and integration support.  CSMP also works to ensure that the learning, knowledge, and expertise of local authorities contributes to the wider refugee integration work undertaken through the New Scots strategy.

Scottish local authorities involved in receiving refugees have drawn upon existing partnerships, as well as their expertise in supporting vulnerable people, to deliver the schemes. Supporting the successful integration of the refugees involves partnership working with health boards, Health and Social Care Scotland, educational institutions, the police, the third sector and local communities.

The resettlement and relocation schemes that Scottish local authorities currently participate in are:

UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS)

This UK government scheme resettles those who have fled from regions of conflict and instability and builds on the success of the previous resettlement schemes, including the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) which saw over 3000 people resettle in Scotland.

The approach of UKRS expands on the work of VPRS by resettling refugees in line with the global need identified by UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), typically from countries hosting large populations of refugees such as those bordering countries with conflicts, where resettlement may be the only durable solution. This provides refugees with a safe and legal route to the UK.

You can find further information on UKRS here

The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy (ARAP)

This scheme was launched by the UK government in April 2021 and works with the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to relocate current and former Locally Employed Staff who worked with the British Forces in Afghanistan and identified to be at serious risk of threat to life. The scheme includes immediate family members of those eligible for relocation and participating local authorities are funded to provide accommodation and integration support for three years.

You can find further information on ARAP here

The Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS)

The UK government formally opened the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) in January 2022 and has committed to welcome around 5,000 people in the first year and up to 20,000 over the coming years. The scheme provides a safe and legal route for people at risk, prioritising those who have assisted the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as democracy, women’s rights, freedom of speech, and rule of law. This is in addition to a commitment to resettle vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+).

You can find further information on ACRS here