At least eight refugee families will be resettled in Oxford each year over the next five years under city council plans.

The city council has agreed to support a government refugee resettlement scheme which will mean that a minimum of eight refugee families will be found homes in Oxford over the next five years.

Families will be offered private rented accommodation and will use Home Office funding to provide support services.

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City councillor and cabinet member for housing Linda Smith said: “Oxford is proud to be a city of sanctuary, together we have supported hundreds of refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan and Syria and beyond to build new lives in the safety of our city.

“It is right to play our part in the UK’s refugee programmes but Oxford is an expensive city and we must be realistic in the scale of our offer, and ensure that it does not come at a cost to other services we offer residents.”

The government scheme will provide the city council with grant funding of £20,520 per person for each household that is resettled through the programme.

Since 2015, 48 refugee families have already been successfully settled in Oxford under the UK Resettlement Scheme, Afghan Relocation Allocations Policy and the Afghan Citizens Resettlement Scheme.

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These schemes have also had a high success rate at enabling the refugees to become financially independent, with 66 per cent of the 30 Syrian families having at least one person in employment.

This trend is the same with Afghan refugees, with 80 per cent of families having at least once person in employment since December 2021.

In April it was reported that the city council would purchase six new properties for Afghan and Ukrainian refugees due to funding from the Department of Levelling Up, Housing and Communities.

The city council joined the Local Authority Housing Fund, and this unlocked up to £1, 108,620 in grant funding.

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In June, the council announced that it had purchases a three bedroom block of flats at Underhill Circus in Headington and these rooms will be let through the Local Authority Housing Fund.

The conditions of signing up to this fund mean that the initial tenancies for these rooms must go to refugee families.

There are currently around 7000 Afghan refugees in bridging hotels across the UK and the government committed to re-settling 20,000 Afghans over a three-year period.

The government has also outlined further commitments to re-settle refugees under schemes such as ARAP, ARCS and UKRS.

All local authorities have been told to play their part to support these.