For over 65 years, IOM has played a vital role in providing essential services in support of refugee resettlement operations around the world. In close partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), central and local government agencies as well as civil society partners, IOM UK has been facilitating the resettlement of refugees to the UK since 2004.

We play a role in the resettlement of refugees to the UK, providing individuals and families with pre-departure and travel assistance, including health assessments, provision of travel documents and visas, pre-departure orientation and operational and/or medical escorts, before refugees are helped to settle in communities across the UK by local authorities and NGOs.

Currently, we are assisting the resettlement of refugees through
4 programmes:

Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPR)
Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS)
Gateway Protection Programme
Family Reunion Travel Assistance Programme (FRTA)

Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPR)

Since the UK Government announced the expansion of the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Programme (SVPR) to allow 20,000 Syrian refugees to be resettled to the UK from Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, we have been providing assistance to individuals and families. From September 2015 to September 2017, we assisted the resettlement of 9,152 Syrian people.

The SVPR gives priority to particularly vulnerable Syrian refugees, including women and girls at risk, children and adolescents at risk, survivors of violence and/or torture, refugees with legal and/or physical protection needs, those with medical needs or disabilities, individuals at risk due to their sexual orientation or gender identity, and refugees with family links in the UK.

IOM works closely with its missions in the region and partners including the UK Home Office, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO), UNHCR, and British Embassies to provide Syrian refugees with health assessments, travel documents and visas, pre-departure orientation, travel arrangements and IOM operational and/or medical escorts to the UK.

Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS)

Given the continuing instability in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region and the particular vulnerabilities of refugee children, regardless of nationality, the UK Government announced in April 2016 the launch of the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS) aiming to resettle up to 3,000 children who have become displaced and are in need of international protection. Since September 2016, we assisted in the resettlement of 415 people under the VCRS scheme.

Within the framework of the programme, IOM is responsible for providing health assessments, assistance in arranging travel documents and visas, pre-departure orientation, and providing operational and/or medical escorts until the children – accompanied by family members or unaccompanied minors - meet the host local authorities on arrival in the UK. Similarly to the SVPR, we liaise with IOM country offices in the region, the UK Home Office, FCO, UNHCR missions and British Embassies in countries of departure.

Gateway Protection Programme

The Gateway Protection Programme is the UK’s first resettlement scheme, offering a legal route for up to 750 refugees per year.

Since the launch of the Gateway Protection Programme in 2004, we have assisted with the resettlement of refugees to the UK by conducting health assessments and other medical services, as well as organising travel arrangements for refugees. In 2016, we assisted with the resettlement of 805 refugees to the UK under the Gateway Protection Programme.

The Family Reunion Travel Assistance Programme (FRTA)

We work in partnership with the British Red Cross to support the reunification of refugees in the UK with close family members who are still living in another country, and who are unable to afford the travel costs. IOM provides end-to-end support in all travel logistics to bring the family members together, while the British Red Cross assists in covering the costs. Since 2013, over 5,000 individuals have been assisted with family reunification.


The European Resettlement Network, under a joint IOM, UNHCR and ICMC project entitled ‘Strengthening the response to emergency resettlement needs’, further promotes cooperation among different stakeholders and further builds capacity to increase and improve resettlement efforts. It focuses on raising awareness of emergency resettlement, conducting outreach, and facilitating mutual learning and exchange of good practices amongst its members.

For more information on the objectives and activities of the European Resettlement Network or to become a member you can visit the EU Resettlement Network website.