The Home Office screen displaced people who meet the selection criteria of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). We pledged to resettle refugees who are part of the Home Office Resettlement Schemes.
The number of families settling in Dorset depends on:

  • the availability of suitable, private housing
  • local support services
Refugee families have been through great hardship. Settling in a new country is a huge challenge. Our work is to bring refugee families to safety and to help them lead independent lives.

To help the families achieve this, we collaborate closely with many partners including:
  • the NHS
  • community groups and local charities
  • education settings, including:
    • schools
    • colleges
    • local providers of English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes
In Dorset we house families in privately rented properties. This is often where a property owner has offered to rent their property to refugee families. Contact us if you can offer a refugee family accommodation.
As of March 2023, we have resettled almost 140 refugees. This includes:
  • those under the national government schemes (not including Ukraine)
  • those under Community Sponsorship
  • children born in the UK
We really appreciate all the support that Dorset residents provide to these families. We know the work in the community helps families to resettle. Your help can make all the difference to what we do.

Where the refugees in Dorset are from

The Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS)

VPRS began in 2015. It enabled 20,000 Syrians come to the UK. The first Syrian families arrived in Dorset in 2016. 

It helped those in the greatest need, including:
  • people that needed urgent medical treatment
  • survivors of violence and torture
  • women and children at risk
This scheme ended for new arrivals in 2021.

UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS)

UKRS continues to be a critical part of the UK's humanitarian response. It offers a safe and legal route to vulnerable refugees in need of protection.
Community sponsorship groups
There are currently 4 Community Sponsorship groups in Dorset. The Community Sponsorship scheme:
  • enables community groups directly welcome and support a family into their local community
  • is in response to the desire of civil society to support refugees
  • is in addition to the resettlement undertaken by councils

Operation Warm Welcome

We have welcomed Afghan people to the UK. This has included those who served alongside our armed forces in Afghanistan.

This has included those who helped the UK efforts in Afghanistan and stood up for values such as:
  • democracy
  • women’s rights
  • freedom of speech
  • the rule of law
This has also included vulnerable, at-risk people, such as: 
  • women and girls
  • members of minority groups


Many Dorset residents also responded to the separate Homes4Ukraine government scheme. It offers accommodation and sponsorship. Over 900 Ukrainians arrived in Dorset under this scheme.