Integration of resettled Syrian refugees in Oxford: preliminary study in 2018
Naohiko Omata and Dunya Habash, with Nuha Abdo
This working paper presents findings from the first phase of research on Understanding the Integration of Syrian Refugee Families in Oxfordshire, based at the Refugee Studies Centre at the University of Oxford. The study aims to understand the ways and degrees to which Syrian refugee families who came to Oxfordshire via the Syrian Vulnerable Person Resettlement Scheme (SVPRS) are adapting to their new lives in the United Kingdom. In response to the Syrian refugee crisis and calls for countries in the Global North to do more, the UK government launched the SVPRS in 2014. In 2015, the then prime minister David Cameron announced intentions to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees from the Middle East and North Africa to the UK by May 2020 through the SVPRS. By the end December 2016, 5,454 refugees had been resettled in the UK through this scheme, spread across 200 local authorities. This study seeks to investigate the integration processes experienced by these Syrian families, with the aim of highlighting policy implications for local authorities and refugee-supporting agencies. At the inception of data collection in 2018, a total of 28 families had been received in Oxford via SVPRS. For this initial round of research, we conducted semi-structured interviews with 14 families out of the 28, and also interviewed staff members from Oxford City Council, community-based groups, and refugee-assisting NGOs between January and July 2018.