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Refugee crisis: First of the 20,000 Syrian asylum-seekers the UK promised to take in have arrived

Independent.co.uk

The first Syrian refugees coming to Britain as part of the Government's new resettlement programme have arrived in Britain.

The Home Office confirmed that the refugees had arrived in the UK but did not give details about how many had been admitted or where they were located.

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The refugees are drawn from camps bordering the war-torn country rather than anyone who had made progress travelling to Europe on their own accord.

David Cameron said the UK's expanded vulnerable person resettlement scheme would take 4,000 refugees a year over the next five years, a total of 20,000.

David Cameron has said the UK will take 4,000 refugees a year He has however previously warned that the UK cannot take "more and more" people - despite the UK's contribution being significantly smaller than other similarly sized countries'.

Germany could take up to a million refugees this year, according to the country's vice chancellor.

The UK is not participating in a European Union plan to relocate 120,000 refugees who are already in the continent.

Those people will be moved from mainly southern European countries like Greece and Hungary, where large numbers of refugees have travelled.

They will be redistributed to other countries in order to take the strain off places on the route into Europe.

EU interior ministers approved the plan today but the Commission confirmed that participation in the scheme would be effectively voluntary.

arrival of the first vunerable people from Syria follows a broad-based campaign, including by the Independent, for the Government to take in more refugees.

A Home Office spokesperson said: "We are working closely with the with UNHCR and local authorities to make sure we are ready to welcome more Syrians who desperately need our assistance.

"Today a number of people have arrived in the UK as part of the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement (VPR) scheme. As the Prime Minister announced earlier this month, we will resettle 20,000 Syrians over the course of this Parliament through this scheme."

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