The Future of Community Sponsorship

Last update: 18 February 2021

Prior to the pandemic, the Home Office announced a new refugee resettlement scheme called the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS). It was scheduled to begin as soon as the government had met its target of resettling 20,000 refugees through their Vulernable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS). Two really exciting changes to Community Sponsorship were due to come into effect with the launch of the UKRS:

  • Additionality – all refugees resettled through Community Sponsorship will be ‘additional’ to the government's own resettlement targets
  • A broader global scope - the scheme will be extended to have a broader global focus, allowing flexibility to respond to humanitarian crises

Due to the pandemic, refugee resettlement was put on hold in March 2020. In November 2020, The Home Office announced that the VPRS programme would resume. In early 2021, Local Authorities and Community Sponsorship Groups will be welcoming 232 refugees. Once they have been welcomed, the government will have met its target of welcoming 20,000 refugees and the VPRS will close and the UKRS will begin. 

On 22 January 2021, we were informed by the Home Office that a commitment to resettlement beyond the VPRS has been secured. 

As of 11 February, we understand that the new resettlement programme will still be called the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS), will have a broader global scope and the number of refugees resettled through Community Sponsorship will not form part of the pledges made by Local Authorities. This means that Community Sponsorship Groups will directly affect the number of refugees who are welcomed to the UK. 

Community Sponsorship Groups which have submitted applications to the Home Office have been informed of next steps directly through their Lead Sponsor. Groups that have not yet submitted applications are encouraged to do so if they feel able. We will be making regular updates to this page as we get more deatils.

Check back on this page regularly and make sure to follow us on social media and to sign up to our newsletter for updates.

Latest Updates:

When will the new scheme start?
26 January 2021

The new resettlement scheme will begin when the VPRS programme is fulfilled, this will be in early 2021 once 232 refugees have been welcomed to the UK through Community Sponsorship and Local Authority resettlement 

Will the application process stay the same?
26 January 2021

There is no change to Community Sponsorship application under the new resettlement scheme. The Home Office updated their application forms in November 2020, and these are dated 'September 2020', but it will be possible to apply on the previous copy of the form (dated December 2018) until May 2021. 

What do we know about the new resettlement scheme?
18 February 2021

New information is becoming available regarding the families who will be resettled through the UKRS.  We've produced new resources to help Groups work through how they could welcome families through the scheme on our training website

What will happen next?
26 January 2021

Community Sponsorship Groups who have full approval will start to receive allocations of families. 

Community Sponsorship Groups with approval in principle or which are under consideration by the Home Office will be notified via their Lead Sponsor on the next steps that they need to take

Where Local Authority consent is over 6 months old, their consent must be renewed. The Home Office will be informing Local Authorities, and Groups are encouraged to make contact with their Local Authority to make them aware of the movement of the programme

The Home Office are asking Community Sponsorship Groups to meet the conditions for their full application approval for allocations to take place.  Conditions to meet will include securing housing or completing fundraising.

8 February 2021

On 08 February, the Home Office announced that there will be a consultation into safe and legal routes, which will include the future of resettlement.  We don't yet have dates or format for this. 

Should we be seeking full approval for our application at this stage?
29 January 2021

This is a conversation that you should have with your Lead Sponsor.  Whilst there is no doubt it is positive news that the Government is committed to welcoming refugees beyond the end of VPRS , it is a serious undertaking and you will want to be sure you understand the parameters you are working within, particularly when you are securing properties or completing your fundraising.  Reset are happy to talk through your plans with you and your Lead Sponsor as you explore the next steps in your application. 

8 February 2021

We have had confirmation from the Home Office that Groups who receive full approval will be eligible for void property costs should the resettlement programme be paused again.  Void property claims are decided on a case by case basis so it's incredibly important to speak to your Home Office contact as things develop.  

The Home Office have confirmed that the funding instruction for families supported through Community Sponsorship will remain the same as 2020/21 for families arriving under the new programme. 

What is happening with mainstream (Local Authority led) resettlement?
29 January 2021

We understand that the Home Office are liaising directly with the Strategic Migration Partnerships across the UK to inform and update Local Authorities with developments on the new scheme and to gather their feedback on their capacity to welcome refugees in a new resettlement programme.  Community Sponsorship does work differently to Local Authority resettlement, and communication between the Home Office may be different in each case. 

12 February 2021

We understand that the Home Office will make the same funding available to local authorities participating in the programme.  This means that funding for education and healthcare will be available for families supported through Community Sponsorship.  

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