Mansfield and Ashfield home to dozens of refugees and asylum seekers

Mansfield and Ashfield is home to dozens of people believed to have fled conflict or faced persecution in other countries, figures show, as the UK prepares to welcome more people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

By Joanna Morris
Wednesday, 16th March 2022, 9:57 am

The Government has launched a new sponsorship scheme, which will let ordinary people, charities and businesses provide a safe space for Ukrainians without family ties in the UK.

Home Office data shows Mansfield communities have already welcomed 38 refugees as part of other resettlement schemes since 2014, while Ashfield has welcomed 46.

They were accommodated via the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme, which was established in 2014 to provide sanctuary to Syrian refugees.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the Government had a "proud history" of supporting people in need and protecting the most vulnerable.

After resettling more than 20,000 refugees across the country, the VPRS was replaced in February 2021 by the UK Resettlement Scheme, which has which has so far provided eight people with a home in Ashfield, but is yet to place anyone in Mansfield.

A Home Office spokeswoman said the Government had a ‘proud history’ of supporting people in need and protecting the most vulnerable.

However, charity Refugee Action’s chief executive has urged MPs to back a Lords amendment to the Government’s Nationality and Borders Bill to support more refugees and create a commitment to resettle 10,000 annually.

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Tim Naor Hilton said cuts to resettlement schemes had left councils struggling to invest in refugee services and the amendment could improve the country’s response to those escaping conflict.

Separate figures show asylum applications in the UK increased by 63 per cent to 48,540 in 2021 – the highest number in almost two decades.

Mansfield and Ashfield were each home to at least two asylum seekers – people seeking sanctuary while applying for the right to be recognised as a refugee – in December.

Enver Solomon, Refugee Council chief executive officer, said the increase was unsurprising, because ‘where there is war, conflict and violence, there will be people desperately seeking safety’.

He urged the Home Office to tackle a rise in people waiting more than six months for a decision, adding: “The UK’s response must be an asylum system that is fair, humane and orderly – a system that processes claims in an efficient and timely manner, granting protection to those who need it and, for those who don’t, enabling them to return safely to the country from which they came.”

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