UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS)
Advice for refugee families and volunteers
COVID-19 booster information (اللغه العربيه)
British Ref Cross: Help for Afghan people in the UK (پښتو/دری)
GOV.UK: A guide Afghans in the UK on the ARAP scheme (پښتو/دری)
How to talk to children about the war (український)
Information for Ukrainians arriving in the UK (український)
How the NHS works (український)
Information on the COVID-19 vaccines (український)
What we are doing in Wiltshire
Refugee resettlement schemes aims to help the most vulnerable survivors of torture, people with serious medical conditions, and women with children. Since the decision made by full council on 29 September 2015 to participate in VPRS, Wiltshire has welcomed 150 individuals into the county across 11 community areas including 17 new-born additions. We have also supported two local groups under Community Sponsorship to each welcome and support a family directly in their local communities.
The Government have recently launched a new UK Resettlement Scheme since its the completion of the VPRS Syrian scheme. The new UKRS will aim to broaden the geographical focus beyond the Middle East and North Africa for vulnerable families in need of resettlement.
The Refugee Resettlement team relies heavily on the contributions of our committed volunteers. Under this scheme more than 60 individuals currently provide volunteer support to refugee families across Wiltshire with over 250 involved since 2015.
Relocation is available to eligible Afghans and their pre-existing partners and minor dependent children, who are themselves Afghan citizens and living in Afghanistan. You can find out more about Operation Warm Welcome which ensures Afghans arriving in the UK receive the vital support they need to rebuild their lives, find work, pursue education and integrate into their local communities.
Arrivals under the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) will be given immediate indefinite leave to remain, alongside funding for school places and healthcare. The Home Secretary has announced that this will apply to Afghans who worked closely with the British military and UK government in Afghanistan, and risked their lives in doing so, meaning they can now stay in the UK without any time restrictions. This will give Afghans the certainty and stability to rebuild their lives with unrestricted rights to work and the option to apply for British citizenship in the future.
The UK also formally opened the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme (ACRS) on 6 January 2022.
The scheme will prioritise 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, and vulnerable people, including women and girls at risk, and members of minority groups at risk (including ethnic and religious minorities and LGBT+).
Support for Ukraine
There are a number of Wiltshire households offering their homes to Ukrainian refugees after the Homes for Ukraine scheme was launched and the number is growing every day. Wiltshire Council is ready and has plans in place as Ukrainian refugees are starting to be matched with people offering up their homes in the county.
The government has given local authorities a key role in helping refugees settle. In response, Wiltshire Council has staff ready to carry out accommodation and safeguarding checks and also to liaise with schools and other services. The council is putting in place caseworkers and working on payment mechanisms for sponsors and emergency support for new arrivals. It is also working closely with partners in the NHS, Department for Work and Pensions and town and parish councils.
There is also ongoing work with voluntary groups and charities, who are helping to co-ordinate responses and ways to ensure when families arrive they have the support they need and feel truly welcome.
For more information, please visit the Support for Ukraine page.
Many under Wiltshire's refugee families have worked hard to give back to their local community during these challenging times. This includes volunteering for local community organisations working to deliver prescriptions to the vulnerable, as well as making and providing scrubs uniforms to support the NHS.
Many individuals have successfully found work in Wiltshire since being resettled. This includes a tailor who was offered a training job which developed into successful employment, a painter and decorator, as well as others looking to start their own businesses and another working for Wiltshire Council.
Many have also been successfully improving their English and Maths skills, have moved up through college classes, and are undertaking citizenship classes and ESOL fast track classes. Numerous individuals also volunteer at local Mothers and Toddler Groups, in the community hubs, and in charity shops. A vast majority have passed their driving tests, including 3 women. One boy even plays football for their local under 11s team.
What you can do to help
Hear from our volunteer and landlord, Jenny.
Private landlords who have affordable, ready to let property can send in the details to us by completing a survey detailing types of property available. You can also use a government portal for housing offers. To find out more, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Some people have kindly offered a room in their own homes, but current government guidance is that shared houses and general lodgings are not suitable for the UKRs or ARAP schemes. However if these people would be interested in sheltering unaccompanied minors through our supported lodgings scheme they can get in touch.
- Hear from Volunteer Coordinator, Michael.
- Current volunteering opportunities
- Other volunteering opportunities with Wiltshire Council
Other ways you can help
KFR refurbishing furniture, reviving communities : Donate
British Red Cross Syria crisis appeal