Scotland hits Syrian refugee target three years early
The UK Government has committed to resettling 20,000 people fleeing the war-torn country through the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.
Councils north of the Border were to take in 10 per cent of that number. They have reached the goal just two years into the five-year scheme.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Scotland is an open and welcoming country and today’s celebration, welcoming the 2,000th Syrian refugee to our country, is testament to that.
“In 2015, I made a commitment that we would take our fair share of Syrian refugees coming to the UK and the hard work and dedication of local authorities across Scotland has meant we have more than met that pledge.
“I am proud that Scotland has welcomed so many refugees fleeing persecution and war into our communities so they can rebuild their lives here.”
Statistics released earlier this month showed Scotland had accepted one in five of Syrians brought to the UK through the resettlement scheme.
Those helped by the initiative include children in urgent need of medical treatment and life-changing care, who are building new lives across Scotland.
A further commitment to provide refuge to 3,000 youngsters from north Africa has been made by the UK Government through the associated Vulnerable Children Relocation Scheme.
Those arriving through both programmes are granted refugee status and given leave to remain in the UK initially for five years.
At the end of that period, they are entitled to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
All 32 Scottish councils have committed to supporting resettlement efforts in whatever way they can.
UK Immigration Minister Brandon Lewis will join the First Minister in Edinburgh today to celebrate the milestone and discuss the future of the programme.
Convention of Scottish Local Authorities president Alison Evison said: “Scottish local government has responded to its moral duty to help and protect those whose lives have been torn apart by war.”
Mr Lewis added: “Scotland, along with the rest of the UK, should be proud of the way it has welcomed some of the most vulnerable refugees and provided them with safety.”