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What safe routes are available for refugees to come to the UK?

7 March 2023

Hear from our Strategy Director, Emma Harrison, on what safe routes are currently available for refugees to come to the UK.

As the Home Secretary and Prime Minister announce a new Bill to prevent people from seeking asylum if they arrive on a small boat, we have been considering what options people have if they are to arrive safely. 
You might read that there are no safe routes for asylum seekers. This is not entirely correct, however there are very few legitimate routes to safety and nearly all those routes are for very specific groups, with some almost impossible to access. These are the following ways that refugees can seek sanctuary in the UK: 

  • Homes for Ukraine 

  • Hong Kong British Nationals (Overseas) Visa 

  • Afghan Relocations and Assistance Policy  

  • Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme 

  • United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme 

  • Mandate Resettlement Scheme 

  • Community Sponsorship 

  • Displaced Talent Visa Scheme 


Some of these are clear and well-known routes; Reset has been working hard to resettle people through the Homes for Ukraine scheme (and we still need more hosts, so if you are interested, check out the process!) 

Obviously, Community Sponsorship is at the heart of our work and is the companion programme to the United Kingdom Resettlement Scheme.  We know that Community Sponsorship can take time, effort and partnership to welcome a family through this route, but we are here every step of the way if you want to form a sponsorship group.  

Other schemes might not be as familiar, we’ve put together this presentation to explain the routes and will add to it if new schemes become available.  If we have missed any route, let us know! As you will see from the presentation, the situation is complex. 

While we believe that these schemes are helpful and that we should have ambitious targets for resettlement, they cannot be a replacement for a fully functioning, fair asylum process.  

It’s important to remember that what almost everyone can agree on is that the best way of resettling people is through schemes that are led by local communities. Perhaps you’re not able to start your own Community Sponsorship group right now, but you play a significant and important role by helping us spread the word. Together we can make a difference.