Towns and cities across Scotland have welcomed and provided homes for 2,000 Syrian refugees in just two years. In 2015, the UK government committed to resettling 20,000 people fleeing the war-torn country through the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme.
Scotland makes up just 8.3% of the UK population but Local Councils agreed to take in 10% of the UK target over five years. This goal has been reached just two years into the five-year programme. Scotland has accepted one in five of Syrians brought to the UK through the resettlement scheme.
Scottish Refugee Council chief executive Sabir Zazai said Scotland should be proud of its response to the Syrian crisis. She said:
"As a newcomer to Scotland myself I've been impressed by the rich tapestry of cultures and backgrounds living and working here. We should all be proud of the welcome Scotland has shown to the Syrian families who have settled here and the support and friendship they have been offered. Scotland's local authorities have shown leadership and dedication in supporting people not just to rebuild their lives here but to go on and flourish here."
Those helped by the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Programme include young children in urgent need of medical treatment and life-changing care, who are now building new lives across Scotland.
Bassel Aldaya, a Syrian refugee who was homed in the north east, said:
"I could not believe the resettlement team's beautiful smiles. The care and support received was far beyond my expectations. We feel as though Aberdeenshire is home."
Those arriving through the initiative are granted refugee status and given leave to remain in the UK for five years in the first instance. At the end of that period, they are entitled to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
Scotland is an inclusive nation that welcomes people from all over the world. If you are interested in moving to Scotland, you can find out more here.