NEWS | Herefordshire Council to discuss resettling 125 refugees at next Cabinet meeting


Herefordshire Council will discuss the potential resettling of least 125 refugees in Herefordshire over a period of five years when it’s cabinet meets next week.

From Herefordshire Council:

Future refugee resettlement.

“To endorse the approach to a long term flexible commitment to the ambition of resettling at least 125 refugees in Herefordshire over a period of five years.

As part of this approach, authority will be delegated to the cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing to agree numbers and services procured in any one year, subject to funding instructions from the government.

The council and its partners have successfully resettled 95 refugees in Hereford between 2016 and 2019. The families have been welcomed by local people and have made a positive contribution to their local communities in a variety of ways.

Local Authorities are being asked by the Home Office to consider making a further pledge to accommodate refugees through resettlement programmes. The council has been formally approached by the Director of Resettlement, Asylum Support and Integration for UK Visas and Immigration to confirm how many refugees Herefordshire will pledge to resettle in 2020-21.

Whilst the Home Office has only announced a resettlement programme for 2020/21 at this time, it is anticipated that future years will bring further resettlement programme announcements. In light of this it is proposed that Herefordshire adopts a similar approach to other local authorities who are exploring a longer term policy approach to refugee resettlement, to enable a prompt response to future requests.”

Recommendation(s)

That:
(a) a long term flexible commitment to the ambition of resettling at least 125 refugees over five years is approved.
(b) authority to determine numbers of refugees resettled in any one year and any associated logistics is delegated to the director for adults and communities, in consultation with the cabinet member for health and wellbeing.

Alternative options

  1. Not to make any further commitment to the refugee resettlement scheme at this time. This option is not recommended as participating in the scheme broadens Herefordshire’s diversity, supporting economic and community growth and resettlement has been successful, suggesting little reason not to extend further.
  2. To make a specific pledge or pledges to the Home Office to take a certain number of refugees during a finite short period. This approach is not recommended as uncertainty around the availability of housing makes it difficult to accord with specific numbers and timescales involved. This might also have the effect of limiting the numbers of refugees resettled over a period and complicating the arrangement of support provided. A longer range commitment to more substantial numbers may reflect more appropriately the interest and commitment of the council and Herefordshire residents.