Following their recent “stop the boats” crackdown, the conservative government claims that the UNHCR’s Community Sponsorship scheme has benefitted the lives of more than 1,000 refugees in the UK.
The UNHCR describes the Refugee Community Sponsorship scheme as “a tangible, rewarding way for individuals and small groups to help resolve the huge and growing problem of global forced displacement“.
The Community Sponsorship scheme, which is operating in over 200 community groups across the UK, provides refugees with housing and integration support.
The organisations collaborating with the UNHCR’s Community Sponsorship scheme include charities, faith groups, sports clubs, schools and universities.
To sponsor a family or person who has already received their refugee status, an organisation or person must locate a social housing area or a landlord who is willing to accept rent payments through the benefits system. Once the application has been approved by the Home Office, the UNHCR will find a family or person that suits the size of the property.
Reset UK, which was set up in 2018 to coordinate the growth of the Community Sponsorship movement, recommends that an organisation raises at least £9,000 to provide a family with essential items like school uniforms.
Emma Harrison, the Director of Strategy at Reset, explained: “Community sponsorship is a transformative scheme which allows communities to welcome refugees – and in doing so develops and strengthens community networks.”
Emma Harrison added: “Reset are proud to have played a key role in building capacity among the groups up and down the country that have welcomed families to their areas”.
The government also claim that the people who have been provided with community support, have been forced to flee regions of conflict and instability in Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea, Iran, Somalia and Afghanistan.
The UNHCR has recognised that in 2022, there were a recorded 231,597 refugees in the UK.
As of March 2023, there were a vast 75,492 asylum applications relating to 91,047 in the UK – this was a 33 per cent increase from the previous 12 months.
Immigration Minister Robert Jenrick recalled: “The UK is one of the few countries with a Community Sponsorship scheme that allows communities themselves to help settle individuals and families directly at risk in conflict zones around the world.”
Robert Jenrick, who called the barge which holds up to 500 male asylum seekers “perfectly decent accommodation”, also said that “asylum is a privilege” and the Community Sponsorship movement “reduces the burden on the state”.
The Human Rights Watch recently spoke out about the new bill in the UK that “seeks to penalise people who are left with few options but to undertake such a dangerous journey across the Channel”.
According to Human Rights Watch, the new asylum laws “won’t work”. The organisation continued to declare: “Contrary to the narrative the government likes to push, it is not illegal to seek asylum, and it is irrelevant how a person arrived in the UK.”
Abdulrahman Zakaria, who was resettled in Warwick with his family last year, is one out of the 231,597 refugees in the UK. Fortunately for Abdulrahman Zakaria, his family was chosen by the UNHCR to participate in the Community Sponsorship scheme.
Abdulrahman Zakaria explained: “This scheme has gifted my family and me the dignified life we’ve dreamt of for so long. Owing to the love and support that the group has given me; I’ve found success in my profession and launched my own business.”
He continued to share his gratitude, saying: “Today, we genuinely feel an integral part of the community here in Warwickshire. We’ve received the finest care and backing, and mere words of gratitude hardly do justice to how thankful I am.”