Syrian refugee resettlement in Wales ‘painfully slow’

Over the same period Scotland housed 249 Syrian refugees and Northern Ireland 104, Home Office figures show.

Nine of Wales’ 22 councils had taken part in the Syrian refugee settlement programme up to the end of June, four more than three months earlier.

Oxfam Cymru welcomed the increase but said the resettlement process remained “painfully slow” in Wales.

UK ministers have pledged to settle 20,000 Syrians in the UK by 2020 under a scheme launched in October 2015.

Between April and June Rhondda Cynon Taf resettled 18 refugees whilst Blaenau Gwent, Carmarthenshire and the Vale of Glamorgan took five each, as the four councils took part in the Home Office-funded scheme for the first time.

The five authorities already involved were Neath Port Talbot, which has now taken 27 refugees, Swansea (24), Ceredigion (11), Torfaen (10) and Caerphilly (seven).

Other local authorities, including Wrexham and Anglesey, also have plans to accommodate refugees fleeing war-torn Syria.

Matthew Hemsley from Oxfam Cymru said: “We welcome the fact that more families have been brought to safety here and we know that more refugees from Syria have arrived over the summer.

“Yet we cannot ignore how painfully slow the resettlement process still is in Wales.

“While there is some improvement in terms of numbers resettled here, there is no doubt that Wales still could and should do more to help families who have seen their lives torn apart by this war.”

Mr Hemsley urged the Welsh Government and councils to work closely together to speed up the system.