We know that Oxfordshire, and the UK, has both the capacity and the public will to accept a greater number of people fleeing persecution.
The proposal of a global resettlement target of 10,000 places a year (inclusive of the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme – ARCS) has been received by MPs and Peers on all sides as a pragmatic reform that would go some way to enabling this and to creating a more fair and inclusive refugee resettlement and asylum system.
While rhetoric from the government has indicated a willingness to take in more refugees, there has been little action in this regard. Since the closure of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme for Syrian refugees, the three resettlement schemes operated by the UK (excluding ACRS) have between them resettled a combined total of less than 1,000 people. Further, the lack of a specific target has limited the ability of local authorities to plan for and deliver on resettlement housing and provisions.
Providing a specific annual target of 10,000 individuals would enable authorities to plan and coordinate their provision for re-settled individuals, would allow the Home Office to react swiftly to international refugee crises, and would build-in accountability to the system. This is neither an onerous or unachievable ask: a 10,000 resettlement target per year would amount to around 5 families being accommodated within every local authority in the UK.
In addition to this, Asylum Welcome calls for the bill to be fully compatible with the Refugee Convention (Amendment 182) and for the legal advice from the UNHCR to be taken on board in its eventual enactment.
Read more about the bill and our proposals in detail here!