Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme – Brief to Businesses

27 Feb 2019


The national Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme (SVPRS) was set up by the government in February 2014. The scheme involves taking particularly vulnerable refugees straight from the Middle East and resettling them in the UK. Kent has committed to offering a home for 130 families under the scheme by 2020. 70 families have been placed by early 2019.

Finding a job is important for integration into a new culture and society and this is one of the main areas of focus with the individual families settled in Kent. However, the journey towards this goal is complex, challenging and different for every refugee.Through working with businesses, we hope to offer further possible sources of support into employment or self-employment.

2. Work Status

The refugees are given five years Refugee status and as such are able to work and claim benefits and other public funds from day one.

Many individuals coming through the scheme are highly skilled in areas including construction, stone masonry, mechanics, the hospitality trade and cooking. Barriers to employment include having the correct qualifications (particularly in relation to health and safety), being out of employment for a number of years, knowledge of how to access employment in the UK and language ability.

3. Support provided to the families

All the families under the scheme are provided with a key worker who assists them to access all the services and support they are entitled to.  This includes helping them to find employment and access education and training.

Individuals enter the scheme with different levels of English fluency and will be working with different abilities. Most of the adults on the scheme will be accessing at least 8 hours of English tuition a week through Kent Adult Education and many also access Functional Skills training.  Further training is arranged as required.

4. How could businesses help?

There are a number of ways in which businesses are able to support refugees into employment. While larger companies such as Ikea have linked this to Corporate Social Responsibility aims and introduced employment programmes, smaller companies are also supporting people from the refugee scheme, offering work experience, mentoring support

Options might include:

  • Mentoring - some people on the scheme may have owned their own businesses in the past or be looking to do so in the future. They may not know where to start. Finding someone experienced within an employment sector who can help guide and support an individual into self-employment may be invaluable to gaining a successful outcome.
  • Work placements (short and longer term) - many people coming through the scheme will have experience of working in specific sectors before they arrive in the UK, however they may not have worked for a number of years due to being displaced from their homes. Work experience (paid or unpaid) provides a valuable opportunity for individuals to strengthen their CV, getting them ready to re-enter the employment market.
  • Employment options - after can individual has completed a successful work experience placement you may wish to offer employment, if this is the case you will be supported by our team in this process
  • Apprenticeships - these are available for younger and older people and combine training with work. We are able to support this process. For larger companies (pay roll of over £3 million) levy funds can be used.

 Financial support from the scheme may be available for some of the above options. 

5. Next steps

If your company is interested in getting involved with any of these options, or you would like more information on the scheme please do contact us using the details below:

Serine Annan-Veitch

Policy Adviser

Strategy, Policy and Assurance

03000 415782



Christine Grosskopf

Refugee Resettlement Programme Manager

Phone:  03000 416181

Mobile: 07786 191737

Email:  chris.grosskopf@kent.gov.uk


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