Syrian refugees resettled in the UK as part of the Vulnerable Person Resettlement scheme will now receive refugee status, the Home Office has confirmed.

The UK government announced today that they are to alter their policy of granting resettled Syrians a different type of leave to remain called humanitarian protection. Instead, people resettled after fleeing the Syrian conflict will now receive refugee status.

The move has been welcomed by refugee rights campaigners as it will remove certain barriers facing Syrians attempting to rebuild their lives in the UK.

Gary Christie, Head of Policy at Scottish Refugee Council said:

“Humanitarian protection was never an adequate form of protection for people fleeing the Syrian conflict and being resettled in the UK as it meant that they were not recognised as refugees under international law.

With refugee status, people will now be able to apply for a ‘refugee passport’ that will allow them to go abroad to meet up with family members dispersed all over the world by the Syrian conflict. Details like this make a massive difference to people whose lives have been thrown into utter turmoil by civil war and forced displacement.”

The move by the Home Office also means that resettled Syrians in England and Wales will now be able apply to university without the need to wait three years as before. In Scotland, this has not been an issue as refugees and those with humanitarian protection status are already treated equally as ‘home students’.

Chris Pettigrew
Author: Chris Pettigrew