Thank you for contacting me about asylum seekers and refugee resettlement under the recently passed Nationality and Borders Act.
The United Kingdom has a proud history of supporting those in need of protection; our resettlement programmes have provided safe and legal routes to better futures for hundreds of thousands of people from across the globe.
You may know, since 2015, over 185,000 men, women and children seeking refuge have been offered a place in this country, which is more than any other similar resettlement scheme in Europe. This includes almost 100,000 British Nationals Overseas threatened by draconian security laws in Hong Kong, 20,000 through the Syrian scheme, 13,000 from Afghanistan, and around 50,000 Ukrainians.
I am aware that several constituents have written to me calling on the Government to introduce a specific commitment to resettle a set number of refugees each year. While I sympathise with the sentiment behind this suggestion, I do not think imposing a numerical target is the best method of aiding those in need.
Instead, I believe the number of refugees settled each year should be based on the UK's capacity and the Government's assessment of the international situation. Operating in this way has already effectively enabled the UK to respond to both protracted and emerging humanitarian crises.
Since 2015, the UK has resettled over 27,000 refugees through safe and legal routes directly from areas of conflict and instability. Furthermore, the refugee family route, which enables the spouse or partner and children of a refugee sponsor who are under 18 years of age to join their family member in the UK, has provided more than 39,500 family reunion visas from the same year.
I have always believed that resettlement is vital as a safe and legal pathway to protection for vulnerable refugees fleeing persecution. It is right, and I will continue to ensure, that the Government continues to offer safe pathways for those in need. The launch of a new global UK Resettlement Scheme will build on the success of previous schemes and continue our proud record of resettling refugees who need our help from around the world.
Rest assured that the Nationality and Borders Act allows the UK to continue to resettle genuine refugees directly from places of danger and to offer refugee family reunions. It improves support for refugees to help them build their life in the UK, integrate and become self-sufficient members of society. The legislation also introduces a new temporary protection status for those who do not come directly to the UK or claim asylum without delay once here, but who have, in any event, been recognised as requiring protection.
Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.
Sally-Ann Hart MP