Refugee resettlement - Refugee Council

Refugee resettlement

Some of the most vulnerable refugees are resettled in other countries under internationally agreed resettlement schemes. We are there for them from the minute they step off the plane.

Most refugees are unable to travel far beyond the borders of their home countries. They often live in refugee camps or in poverty in neighbouring countries for years. Many children have lived their entire lives in camps.

Some refugees who are particularly vulnerable due to health conditions, or because they are at a high risk of harm or exploitation, are selected for resettlement by the United Nations. They are transferred to countries like the UK, which has agreed to offer them a safe place where they can finally rebuild their lives.

23,000

The number of refugees the UK has committed to resettle by 2020

How we help

We give resettled refugees the support they need to rebuild their lives. Working with local communities, groups and public services, we ensure they have a warm welcome and a home in which to begin their new lives. We support them to learn English, understand local customs, and access healthcare and education. And we help them to meet local people and gain confidence and independence.

“We had to be taught everything: how to get on a bus, what to say to the driver, things like setting up bank accounts, registering with a GP and how to pay for things at a supermarket. Refugee Council helped us a lot in every way. They have helped us feel independent.” Abou Ali, resettled Syrian refugee

0.6%

just 80,000 of the 13 million Syrians who have fled their homes have been referred for resettlement

5,994

people were given protection in the UK under resettlement schemes in 2018

1,386

refugees were helped to resettle by Refugee Council in 2018

Our support includes:

  • Welcoming new arrivals from the airport
  • Showing them around their new local area, helping them get to grips with public transport, buy familiar food and find their local library
  • Housing support – helping them to understand their tenancy and addressing any problems
  • Help opening a bank account and accessing benefits – ensuring people know their rights and are able to manage their finances
  • Employment support, helping them to access training, volunteering and employment
  • Access to health services for physical and mental wellbeing – from registering with a GP, to getting the right treatment for complex health needs
  • One to one specialist counselling support from our in house therapists for trauma and other urgent mental health issues
  • Education and English language classes - from basic English to helping support with university applications
  • Reducing isolation and connecting people to their communities through participating in group activities including gardening, sewing and
  • Helping local communities and services to become refugee-friendly

Explore our resettlement programmes


Our programmes are in:


Help resettled refugees to thrive in your community

Our local partnerships are essential for ensuring resettled families and individuals achieve-long term independence. Our networks of community groups, charities and public services enable resettled refugees to continue rebuilding their lives beyond the support of our programmes. Contact us to explore how your organisation can get involved.

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Help resettle refugees through Community Sponsorship

Community Sponsorship gives local people the opportunity to make a direct impact on the lives of refugee families.


Support our work

You can help refugees to rebuild their lives in the UK by making a donation or volunteering on one of our projects.

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Get support

Our resettlement programmes can only support people who have been referred to the UN’s Gateway, VPRS or VCRS schemes. To find out more about about the UN’s resettlement process, visit the UNHCR website. Alternatively, if you are a refugee or asylum seeker in the UK, find out about our other services.

Information for Refugees, Asylum-seekers and Stateless People

Visit the UNHCR website

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