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What can I do to help?

There are many ways that you can contribute to the resettlement of Syrian refugees currently living in Aberdeen, or those that we will be welcoming in the near future.

A simple way that you can contribute to resettling Syrian New Scots in Aberdeen is by donating money. A corporate donation account or ‘Resettlement Fund’ has been set up with North East Scotland Credit Union (NESCU) and is overseen by representatives of the Church of Scotland and the Aberdeen City Partner Refugee Group. Read More

Frequently Asked Questions

How many refugees will come to Aberdeen?

The Aberdeen Community Planning Partnership indicated to the UK and Scottish governments in September that the partnership stands ready to play its part in assisting those fleeing conflict and would participate in the UK Home Office's Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

Subject to ongoing discussions with both governments, the scenario planning carried out so far would allow Aberdeen to accept a 5% share (100) of the estimated 2,000 refugees expected to come to Scotland as part of the 20,000 likely to be admitted UK-wide over a five year period.

How was the 5% figure for Aberdeen arrived at?

The figure is based on Aberdeen's share of the Scottish population.

National Records of Scotland (NRS) data shows the Aberdeen City population in 2014 was 228,990, which equates to 4.3% of the Scottish total.

To put the Aberdeen figure of 100 refugees over five years into context, the NRS figures show that 4,200 overseas migrants relocated to Aberdeen City in 2013/14 alone.

Where are the refugees coming from?

The refugees that will arrive in Aberdeen are coming from Syria.

Syria is the world's largest source country of both internally displaced people (7.6million) and refugees (3.88million at the end of 2014).

Afghanistan (2.59million) and Somalia (1.1million) are the next biggest refugee source countries. This is followed by Sudan (648,900) and South Sudan (616,200).

What is the UK Home Office Syrian Vulnerable Person Relocation Scheme?

The Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) Scheme is one of three resettlement routes on which the UK Government works closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

The VPR scheme is helping those who are in the greatest need who cannot be supported effectively in the region by giving them protection and support in the UK – the scheme prioritises people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of torture and violence, and women and children at risk.

Since the crisis began in 2011, the UK has granted asylum or other forms of leave to almost 5,000 Syrian nationals and dependants through normal asylum procedures.

The terms of the VPR scheme grant five years' Humanitarian Protection, which enables individuals to access the full range of welfare services, housing and the employment market immediately without restriction.

How does the process work?

The UK sets the criteria and then UNHCR identifies and submits potential cases for consideration. Cases are screened and considered on the papers and the UK Government retains the right to reject on security, war crimes or other grounds.

Once the screening process has been completed, a full medical assessment is conducted by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the host country. Full details of the case and medical history are sent to the local authority for assessment of need, including whether suitable accommodation and care are available locally.

The local authority then provides details of estimated costs. Eligibility is then confirmed, and IOM start the visa application process.

UK Visas and Immigration International issue UK visas (three months leave outside of the rules) and on arrival, arrangements are made for Biometric Residence Permits to be issued with five years humanitarian protection.

When will refugees begin arriving in Aberdeen?

At the moment, this remains unclear.

The Aberdeen Community Planning Partnership is in discussion with the UK Government Home Office and the Scottish Government on the approximate composition of households being prioritised under the VPR Scheme.

Once we have that information, Aberdeen will be in a position to make a firm offer in terms of whom we will be able to help and when.

That offer would require a detailed timeline to allow all stakeholders to work towards delivery.

We are also working closely with other local authorities who have experience dealing with refugees.

Do local authorities choose who comes to their area?

UNCHR refers cases to the Home Office. The Home Office checks if they meet eligibility criteria and carry out medical and security checks.

Cases are then passed to local authorities, who are asked to accept or reject cases.

Local authorities have to consider if they have the infrastructure and support networks needed to ensure the appropriate care and integration of the refugees.

On accepting a case, the local authority then needs to arrange housing, school places etc.

Where will the refugees be accommodated when they arrive?

This will depend on the detail of the composition of households and needs of individuals who will be relocated to Aberdeen.

The Aberdeen Community Planning Partnership is examining the potential use of specialist social housing for the elderly, community offers of accommodation and the use of council properties in cases where it will not prevent local demand being met.

Housing is just one element of a complex package of support that will be required.

Will refugees be given priority for council housing?

No.Aberdeen City Council has made it clear that it will not divert any property which would otherwise have been allocated to households on the waiting list to refugees arriving in Aberdeen.

Are there enough school places for children if they come?

It remains unclear at this stage exactly what the profile of refugees coming to Aberdeen is going to be. It may be the case that there are no children among Aberdeen's share of the refugees arriving in Scotland.

The Aberdeen Community Planning Partnership is working on contingency planning across all areas, however, including education.

How much is this going to cost and who is paying for it?

It is too early to say how much it would cost to relocate refugees in Aberdeen.

However, it has been confirmed via the Home Office and Department for International Development that the full cost of assisting refuges in their first full year will be met.

The Home Office has also indicated that additional funding will be provided to assist with costs incurred in future years.