Pope Francis speaks of building the future with migrants and refugees in his 2022 World Day of Migrants & Refugees message. He calls for us to recognise and welcome migrants and refugees, to protect, promote and integrate them, highlighting the importance of inclusion, which the Catholic community has embraced wholeheartedly.
This guide aims to foster that support and assist the Catholic community in understanding the refugee resettlement programmes to further identify ways to get involved and support refugees within the community. It is important to note that CSAN operates only in England & Wales, but this guide refers to UK wide refugee resettlement programmes and visa schemes.
The guide outlines the programmes and schemes currently operating within the UK, including hosting opportunities, and identifies CSAN members on the ground providing support, including diocese and Caritas diocesan agencies who may be contacted for further information. The guide further discusses good hosting practices whilst also raising awareness of exploitation and modern slavery.
In addition to helping refugees, we are acutely aware of the growing need at home due to the cost-of-living crisis. Christians are called to respond to need wherever it exists, with the gifts and resources at their disposal. We appreciate not everyone will have the ability to host, but there are many other opportunities to get involved, as outlined in the volunteer section of this guide.
A Note on Terminology
Migration issues are frequently in the headlines but there is much confusion over terms used to identify individuals and their legal status.
The SVP, a member organisation, has defined the terms and outlined the support they are entitled to:
An asylum seeker is someone who has arrived in a country and claimed asylum. Until they receive a decision on their claim by the country’s government, they remain an asylum seeker.
A refugee is a person who has claimed asylum in a country (not their country of birth) and whose claim has been accepted, meaning that refugee is a legal status. Those who obtain refugee status are given protections under international laws and conventions and are entitled to financial and other support from their host country.
There is no internationally accepted legal definition of a migrant. ‘Migrant’ is not a legal status as ‘refugee’ is for example. Many NGOs and agencies understand migrants to be people who have moved from their country of origin to a different country.
Image: Little Amal in London Credit: Catholic Church England and Wales on Flickr