Wales

Syrian refugees to arrive in four Welsh counties by Christmas

Syrian children at a refugee camp Image copyright Reuters

The first Syrian refugees to arrive in Wales this month will settle in Torfaen, Ceredigion, Neath Port Talbot and Caerphilly, councils say.

About 50 people are due to arrive from refugee camps before Christmas - the first of about 1,000 coming to Wales over the next five years.

The UK government will meet the cost of housing and supporting the refugees.

The refugees will be housed in private rented accommodation and not in council properties in many areas.

The majority of asylum seekers and refugees who come to Wales settle in urban areas with existing minority populations - Cardiff, Newport, Swansea and Wrexham.

But all Welsh local authorities have agreed to help with the current national resettlement scheme after David Cameron said the UK will house up to 20,000 refugees over the next five years.

Torfaen council, which is among the first Welsh councils ready to take in refugees, said it was welcoming two families with a number of young children before Christmas, with another four families due in the new year.

A spokesman said all were identified as having been victims of torture and have been granted five years of full humanitarian protection.

The families are not economic migrants or asylum seekers and they will be able to live and work freely in the UK.

Image copyright Reuters

Councillor David Daniels added: "They are families having fled the chaos and trauma of war.

"Torfaen has a strong tradition of welcoming families and I am sure the Torfaen community understands their urgent plight."

Two families will also be given private rented homes in Caerphilly county, with two more likely in the new year and possibly more after that.

In Neath Port Talbot, five families will be given accommodation after arriving in December, half of the total number of families the council will take.

Between 10 and 12 people will also be settled in Aberystwyth, Ceredigion before Christmas.

Ellen ap Gwynn, who is chairman of the council's task and finish group, added: "These people are ordinary people from ordinary backgrounds, who have witnessed events that no-one should have to experience."

Around Wales, some councils have given details about how many refugees it will take, while others are still waiting for more information from the UK government.

Speaking last month, Communities Minister Lesley Griffiths confirmed about 50 Syrian refugees would be welcomed to Wales before Christmas in four local authority areas.

She said all 22 councils were keen to welcome refugees although 18 were still preparing services for their arrival.

Ms Griffiths added the UK government had vowed that all refugees would be "thoroughly vetted" before arrival to ensure they were no security risk.

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