Community Sponsorship beyond 2020

Last update: 10 November 2020

In June 2019, the Home Office announced two really exciting changes to the Community Sponsorship programme in the UK that will come into effect in 2020:

  • Additionality – all refugees resettled through Community Sponsorship will be ‘additional’ to the government target. This means that Community Sponsorship will be a way for people in the UK to directly increase the number of refugees resettled in the country. 
  • A broader global scope - The scheme will be extended to have a broader global focus, allowing flexibility to respond to humanitarian crises.

The Home Office is currently developing its plans and thoughts on this and more information will become available over time.  We will be making regular updates to this page as our understanding of these plans develops so that Community Sponsorship Groups can understand its impact on their work.  Check back on this page regularly and make sure to follow us on social media for further updates.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, resettlement flights have been temporarily halted until early 2021.  It is still not clear when the changes will come into effect. We will update Community Sponsorship Groups when we learn more. Make sure you're signed up to our newsletter to get updates.

Latest Updates:

When will the new scheme start?
19 June 2019

The renewed scheme will start when the government’s existing commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees is fulfilled. This will be in 2020, but we don’t know yet exactly when, but the Home Office predict this will be in Spring 2020.

16 December 2019

According to the lastest quarterly immigration statistics release, 18,252 refugees had been resettled through the VPRS scheme by the end of September 2019. The Home Office is confident that it will meet its 20,000 target in Spring 2020. The new scheme will begin once the 20,000 target has been met.

2 March 2020

According to the latest quarterly immigration statistics release, 19,353 refugees had been resettled through the VPRS scheme by the end of December 2019. The Home Office is confident that it will meet its 20,000 target in Spring 2020. The new scheme will begin once the 20,000 target has been met.  There will be an announcement when the new scheme begins.

1 April 2020

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, refugee resettlement flights have been halted. The new UKRS scheme cannot begin until after flights are resumed. We will update Community Sponsorship Groups when we know more about when resettlement flights will be resumed. 

3 August 2020

There remains no further firm news on when resettlement flights will begin again.  We know that Community Sponsorship Groups and Local Authorities are keen for these to restart. The Home Office are assessing capacity overseas (whether IOM and UNHCR are able to process refugees and secure flights), domestic capacity (whether Local Authorities are ready) and the pandemic and health context. They are putting plans in place so they are ready to restart the scheme as soon as practicalities allow.  A number of domestic and foreign logistical issues must be in place before they begin, and public health is a priority for welcoming communities and refugees alike.  

We understand that when arrivals restart, this will start small and slowly to assess how resettlement can begin again and that the Home Office hope this will be within this calendar year, but can currently make no firm commitment.  Just over 200 refugees will need to arrive before UKRS begins.

We will notify Community Sponsorship Groups when flights will begin, ensure you are signed up to our newsletter to receive this news. 

10 November 2020

The Home Office announced a resumption of arrivals to start from early 2021 to fulfill the commitment of the VPRS programme to welcome 20,000 refugees to the UK.  There remains no news on when the UKRS scheme will begin. 

Do we need to offer different language support?
19 June 2019

To begin with under the new scheme, refugee families resettled through Community Sponsorship will continue being mostly Arabic speakers. The announcement does provide an opportunity for Groups to consider offering a broader range of language support in the future.

What nationalities will be eligible for the new scheme?
19 June 2019

We don’t currently know, this is under development with the Home Office, but will still help the most vulnerable and will focus on where there is most humanitarian need.

2 March 2020

When UNHCR refers refugees to the UK and they are accepted, they refer 10% more refugees than the UK have pledged to resettle.  This means that the refugees who will be resettled in the early days of UKRS have already been referred and they will be those with nationalities accepted under the existing VPRS, VCRS and Gateway schemes.  Community Sponsorship Groups are unlikely to see a change to the nationalities of the families they will be supporting, although this will change over time. 

Will the application process stay the same?
19 June 2019

No changes to the application process, or what Groups need to provide have been indicated at this stage.

Is there a maximum number of refugees who will be eligible for Community Sponsorship?
19 June 2019

We understand it is likely that there will be a ‘cap’ on the number of refugees that can be resettled through Community Sponsorship, but we don’t know yet what this will be

Is this a closure of the VPRS/VCRS schemes?
19 June 2019

From 2020, the VPRS, VCRS and the Gateway Protection schemes will be rolled into one Global scheme.

15 August 2019

The new scheme will be called 'The New Global Resettlement Scheme'. 

3 February 2020

The new scheme will be called the UK Resettlement Scheme, or UKRS

10 November 2020

Whilst refugees will be welcomed from early 2021 by Local Authorities and Community Sponsorship Groups, this will be to fulfil the commitment to welcome 20,000 refugees under the VPRS programme, it is not the start of the new commitment under UKRS. 

If the numbers resettled through Community Sponsorship are additional, will we be able to name or make a preference to the country of origin of the refugees we will support?
19 June 2019

Naming will not be possible under the new scheme. As in the current scheme, at the point of application, Groups will be able to indicate the languages they are best able to support, and the Home Office will take this into account when matching a family to a Group. 

Will Asylum Seekers be included in the new scheme?
19 June 2019

No, it is our understanding that the scheme will only be open to resettled refugees. 

How long will the new scheme run for?
3 February 2020

The new scheme has been announced for 1 year initially, which will begin when the 20,000th refugee arrives in the UK.

3 August 2020

The UKRS scheme will be in place until March 2021.  A spending review is expected by the UK Government in Autumn 2020, and the continuation of resettlement plans will be made in this review.

10 November 2020

All resettlement activity was halted in March 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  The UK Government have announced a resumption of arrivals in early 2021.  At present, it is not known when the UKRS scheme will begin.  

What will happen next?
25 June 2019

The Home Office is planning to reach out to Community Sponsorship Groups and stakeholders for views on how the new developments within Community Sponsorship will be implemented and delivered.

19 July 2019

These discussions and opportunities for stakeholders to feed in, will also include opportunities to feedback on matters such as the application process and the support Groups recieve, as well as the broader changes in the scheme. 

2 March 2020

As soon as the UKRS scheme begins, we will notify all Community Sponsorship Groups of whom we are aware.  Make sure that you are signed up to our newsletter to receive this news. 

How can I give my views on what will happen with Community Sponsorship post 2020?
15 August 2019

The Home Office have released a survey to gather views from Community Sponsorship Groups which needs to be completed by 6 September 2019.  Please contact Reset to participate in this survey.  

6 September 2019

The Home Office ran a survey for Groups to put in their views for the development of Community Sponsorship post 2020 which was open from 15 August – 06 September 2019.  This was circulated to all Lead Sponsors, all Groups for whom Reset has contact details, and via our Partner organisations. 

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