The UK will aim to resettle 5,000 refugees in 2020, Home Secretary Sajid Javid has announced.
A new global resettlement scheme will come in to replace the vulnerable persons resettlement scheme and others, which have already helped 16,000 refugees since 2015.
Announcing the plans at the start of World Refugee Week, Mr Javid said the new programme would broaden the geographical focus beyond the Middle East and north Africa, and be more responsive to emergencies.
Under our new scheme, thousands more people fleeing conflict and persecution will have the opportunity to build a new life in the UK – Sajid Javid MP.
He said: “Since 2016, Britain has resettled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU state – and it’s vital we continue to do all we can to help the world’s most vulnerable.
“Under our new scheme, thousands more people fleeing conflict and persecution will have the opportunity to build a new life in the UK.
“I’m proud of the world-leading work we have done in the Middle East and Africa so far – but there is so much more to do.”
The vulnerable person’s resettlement scheme concludes next year but work will continue under the new scheme, pulling in the existing routes for vulnerable children and the gateway protection programme.
A new process for emergency resettlement will also be developed, allowing the UK to respond quickly to instances when there is a heightened need for protection, providing a faster route to resettlement where lives are at risk.
The community sponsorship scheme, which enables community groups to directly welcome and support refugees in the UK, will continue over and above the government commitment.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, said the UK should be proud of resettling thousands of refugees in the last four years and he was pleased the “life-saving” programme would continue.
He said: “I am delighted that the government recognises the value of communities welcoming refugees through community sponsorship, a scheme I am privileged to have been involved with.
“I call on faith leaders and communities to make the most of this opportunity to change the lives of more refugees and transform communities in the process.”
Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, UK Representative for UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, said she was also delighted by plans to extend the work.
She said: “Resettlement is a crucial component of international solidarity for those states bearing the greatest burden and gives refugees the possibility of rebuilding their lives.
“We hope this serves as a signal for other countries to provide more routes to safety for those forced to flee as the international community moves to make the global compact on refugees a reality.”
The Home Secretary outlined the plans at a roundtable with faith leaders on resettlement, asylum, and faith-based persecution in Parliament on Monday.
The immigration minister also met resettled refugees in Lambeth and those who support their integration into communities.
There are nearly 25.4 million refugees in the world, more than half of whom are under the age of 18.