Northern Ireland

Syrian refugees: 1,258 given shelter in Northern Ireland

Card and stuffed toy Image copyright Pacemaker
Image caption The group consists of 21 families, totalling 77 people

There are now more than 1,200 Syrian refugees living in Northern Ireland, government figures show.

The latest group of refugees, totalling 77 people, arrived on December 13 2018.

This is the eighteenth group of of Syrian refugees to be given shelter in Northern Ireland.

The scheme was set up in 2015 to resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees across the UK over the course of the current parliament.

All families are receiving support from a consortium of community and voluntary groups in partnership with statutory organisations, according to the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.

The latest briefing document published by the Department of Communities in December states that there has been "overwhelming support" from the community throughout Northern Ireland to provide assistance to the refugee families.

The overall number of Syrian refugees welcomed to Northern Ireland to date is 1,258.

Under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme refugees are expected to live in Northern Ireland for five years, after which time they can choose whether to go back to Syria or apply for UK citizenship as long as they do not have a criminal record.

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