The UK Resettlement Scheme
Wirral Council has been welcoming families to the borough through the government resettlement programme since 2017.
The authority has re-affirmed its commitment to this by pledging its support to the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), where we have pledged to resettle 12 individuals. We have also pledged to resettle 18 Afghan individuals through the UK Government’s Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP) scheme and Afghan Citizens Relocation Schemes (ACRS).
The 18 Afghan individuals we resettle could be from either of the ARAP or ACRS programmes or a combination of both and the Home Office will determine which individuals we receive.
We are currently working with central government and local partners to identify suitable homes to meet our pledges, with our approach to both programmes aligned with how we have operated since we started welcoming families to the borough through resettlement.
What is the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS)?
UKRS resettles the most vulnerable refugees, including those with urgent medical needs, survivors of torture or violence and women and children at risk. Funding is provided to local authorities to support the individual’s and their family’s resettlement and integration into their new lives.
What is the Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy (ARAP)?
This scheme offers relocation to current and former locally employed staff in Afghanistan who have worked with the UK British Forces and Government in any capacity to provide appropriate support that properly reflects their work and the risks involved. Funding is provided to local authorities for three years to support these individuals and their families with their integration. These individuals are not refugees.
What is the Afghan Citizens Relocation Scheme (ACRS)?
The UK Government has committed to welcoming up to 20,000 Afghan citizens at risk, who United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) deem to need protection. This programme will run parallel with the ARAP programme and provide resettlement to Afghan citizens who have been identified for needing protection, but do not qualify under the ARAP programme. Funding is provided to local authorities to support these individuals and their families with their integration.
Wirral Council has two specific members of staff whose role it is to co-ordinate the resettlement process for those individuals and their families arriving in the borough. The officers who are part of the Housing Investment Team, link in and work with a wide range of key partners, service providers and voluntary and community sector organisations to facilitate this.
How you can help
If would like to find out more about how you can help, there are a number of ways you can do so:
If you are a private landlord with a property you would like to offer for rent, please email: email@example.com
Please be aware that rent levels for any properties you may be considering offering, would need to be in line with Local Housing Allowance Rates for Wirral
There may be some very limited exceptions to this as potential cases are considered by Wirral.
Families and individuals arriving in Wirral through resettlement schemes are provided with an appropriate self-contained home on arrival, however if you have a spare room you would like to offer on a temporary basis for other individuals, such as those who have recently been granted refugee status or who have been refused asylum, please contact www.refugeesathome.org
Employment, training or work experience
If you are an employer or training provider and have employment or opportunities for work experience or volunteering for individuals, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject heading ‘Opportunities for Refugees and Vulnerable Migrants in Wirral’.
Donations and volunteering
There have already been a number of generous offers of support and donations for individuals and their families which the voluntary and community sector are co-ordinating.
Donations are currently being co-ordinated by www.aheart4refugees.org
Information for Afghan individuals in the UK requesting help for family members in Afghanistan
The Home Office have confirmed the following process for individuals who have relocated through the ARAP scheme and are enquiring about bringing family members over from Afghanistan:
“Under the rules for the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy, your family members can apply to resettle in the UK with you. ‘Family members’ means spouses, long-term partners who you lived with in Afghanistan, or dependent children under 18. They must have applied to come to the UK with you at the same time that you applied”.
If you have additional family members still in Afghanistan that you feel need to be resettled here with you because of threats being made to them as a result of your work with the British Government, you can ask your employing department (usually either the Ministry of Defence or the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) to exceptionally consider allowing them to join you here. You can do this by contacting the same email address you did when you made your own application, setting out the details of your additional family members and why they need to be resettled here.”
If the family member in Afghanistan is a British citizen or worked for British Forces or Embassy then the family member in the UK should contact the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) on +44 (0)1908 516666 and select the option “Consular services for British nationals”. They can also email: email@example.com
*Note that the embassy in Kabul has relocated and any assistance they can provide is limited.
British Nationals in Afghanistan in need of assistance should call +44 (0)1908 516666 and select the option “Consular services for British nationals” or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Information for refugee Family Reunion Cases
For general Refugee Family Reunion Cases please contact the British Red Cross office in Liverpool: 0151 702 5067 email@example.com who can provide more information and advice to refugees local to these areas.
Enquiries relating to extended family members such as adult parents and siblings should be signposted to other legal providers
The Home Office currently have a contract in place with a number of private organisations whose role it is to meet the accommodation and essential living needs of eligible asylum seekers and to provide a range of services to those individuals.
For the Wirral area which is part of the North West of England, the contract the Home Office have in place is with SERCO and they also cover the Midlands and East of England. This is not a role that Wirral Council undertakes.