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Syrian Refugee Crisis - Frequently Asked Questions

How Barnet is responding to the refugee crisis

In autumn 2015, the Government announced that the UK will resettle 20,000 of the most vulnerable Syrian refugees by 2020. Barnet has a proud tradition of welcoming those seeking refuge and in October 2015, Barnet Councillors unanimously voted in favour of a cross-party motion to resettle 50 Syrian refugees in the borough, through the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme, and in a way that does not disadvantage existing residents. The Council is working closely with the Home Office to implement this commitment. 

The Council is working with local voluntary groups to harness the generosity and commitment that exists amongst Barnet’s residents and communities. We know that Barnet is a hugely diverse borough and that many residents and community organisations want to offer donations and support. 

In light of pressures on local Government budgets, is Barnet funding the resettlement of Syrian refugees?

The continuing squeeze on Government spending means that Barnet will need to save a further £81m (approximately 25% of its budget) over the period 2016-20. Barnet is resettling 50 Syrian refugees through the Government’s Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, which provides funding for the full costs of resettlement in the first year. Local authorities will also receive funding from central Government for years 2-5 of the resettlement programme, with funding reducing over the period to reflect  evidence from existing resettlement programmes that costs associated with resettlement will decrease over time.

Will refugees be housed in Council housing?

Barnet Councillors agreed to resettle 50 Syrian refugees at no disadvantage to local residents. Refugees will be housed through the private rented sector in order not to impact on the limited supply of Council housing.

When will Syrian refugees arrive?

We have been working closely with the Home Office over recent months as part of our commitment to resettle 50 Syrian refugees within the borough. The right support is in place and they will arrive over the coming weeks and months.  Those we are resettling have been through a tremendous ordeal and are vulnerable. It is vital they are given time and space to settle, with support from the professional services that we have put in place to meet their needs.  We will not be giving further details about the families, where they will be located or wider arrangements. 

What security checks will refugees have undergone?

When refugees arrive in the UK they have been through a thorough two-stage vetting process. The Home Office works closely with the UNHCR, which has its own robust identification processes in place. This includes the taking of biometrics, documentary evidence and interviews. When potential cases are submitted by the UNHCR for consideration they are screened and considered by the Home Office for suitability for entry to the UK. This includes the taking of further biometric data. The Home Office retain the right to reject individuals on security grounds, including where there is insufficient information to undertake effective screening.

What support does Barnet currently provide to refugees?

Barnet has a long and proud history of supporting refugees.  The precise nature of support will be determined when the implications for London are clear.  The type of support on offer includes – for those under 18 years old - assistance with the asylum process; assignment to a doctor; appropriate educational arrangements; targeted youth worker support; and foster care support. Adults are given access to domiciliary/ homecare where appropriate. 

Ways you can offer support:

Volunteer locally

If you are interested in volunteering locally to support refugees in Barnet, or you are an organisation that would like to promote volunteering opportunities related to supporting refugees, please contact Volunteering Barnet by email at enquiry@volunteeringbarnet.org.uk or telephone on 0300 365 9960. You can find out more about the Volunteering Barnet service at www.volunteeringbarnet.org.uk.

Other ways to volunteer

Refugee Council is looking for volunteers with relevant professional skills to act as therapeutic caseworkers to support refugees presenting mental wellbeing needs.

If you are a landlord

If you are a private landlord with property that may be available for refugees over the coming months, we would like to talk to you. Please email refugeesupport@barnet.gov.uk

Make a donation

You can make a donation to a humanitarian organisation or charity that provides support to refugees. Organisations that do this include:

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