Asylum: Syria

Home Office written question – answered on 15th January 2015.

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Photo of Charlotte Leslie Charlotte Leslie Conservative, Bristol North West

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if she will take steps to allow more refugees fleeing the conflict in Syria to enter the UK.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

The Government is deeply concerned about the crisis in Syria, the suffering and hardship it is causing for millions of displaced Syrians in the region, and the strain it is placing on their host countries. Given the scale of the crisis,

we believe the most effective way to ensure the UK’s help has the greatest impact for displaced people and their host countries is through substantial humanitarian aid and actively seeking an end to the conflict so that refugees

can return to their homes and livelihoods safely.

We have committed £700 million in response to the crisis, making us the secondlargest bilateral donor after the USA, and UK funding is helping to support hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the region, providing food, healthcare and essential supplies. Compared with aid, offering protection in the UK can only ever help a minority of those in need.

However, we recognise that there are some very vulnerable refugees who cannot be supported effectively in the region. In January, we launched the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme to offer protection in the UK to

those most at risk, particularly women and children at risk, those in need of medical care and survivors of torture and violence.

The scheme is based on need rather than fulfilling a quota, but we expect it to help several hundred people over three years, and groups are arriving in the UK on a regular basis. This is in addition to our consideration of Syrian asylum claims

lodged in the UK under our normal rules; since the crisis began in 2011, we have granted asylum or other forms of leave to over 3,400 Syrian nationals.

We believe that the best way for the UK to help those in need is to continue to focus our efforts on substantial aid, actively seeking a resolution to the crisis and helping some of the most vulnerable people through the VPR scheme.

We therefore have no current plans to take steps beyond these measures to facilitate entry to the UK for displaced Syrians.

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