12 January 2024

British Red Cross responds to Home Office report on safe routes

Olivia Field, Director of Policy and Advocacy for the British Red Cross, said: “Safe routes are essential if we truly want to stop people having to take dangerous journeys to the UK, after they flee their homes and search for a place of sanctuary. But for the vast majority of men, women and children, there are simply no safe routes open to them.  

“People seeking asylum want things we can all relate to – to feel safe, be able to work, be part of society and live in safety with their families. 

“From our work supporting displaced people around the world, we can clearly see what’s missing. We need a humanitarian visa scheme so that people can apply for asylum from outside the UK. Until we have this, we will continue to see people risk their lives in search of safety.”  


About the British Red Cross 

For over 150 years, the British Red Cross has helped people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. With millions of volunteers across 191 countries, the British Red Cross is part of an international humanitarian Movement that’s there for people before, during and after a crisis. Together, we are the world’s emergency responders.

Notes to Editors: 

The British Red Cross has worked with the VOICES Network to gain insights from people seeking asylum and refugees on what it means to feel safe. 

For more data on safe routes, see the British Red Cross State of the Nation report: State of the Nation: accessing protection safely | Flourish 

This includes: 

  • 766 people have been resettled over the last 12 months - off which, 42% were Syrians.  
  • Only seven per cent of people seeking international protection in the last year have arrived in the UK through resettlement routes. 
  • As of 13th November 2023, 192,700 people arrived in the UK via the Ukraine Visa Schemes  
  • There are three different routes for Afghans under the Afghan Citizens Resettlement (ACRS) Schemes:  
  • ACRS Pathway 1 (for those who were evacuated under operation pitting in 2021)  
  • ACRS Pathway 2 (UNCHR resettlement scheme) - only 70 people have been resettled since the Scheme began in 2022.  
  • ACRS Pathway 2 (for those who worked for certain British Companies in Afghanistan)  
  • Hong Kong (NBO) - 40,243 people arrived in the year ending September 2023 (Note: The British National (Overseas) route for Hong Kong is not a protection or safe route but is for people from Hong Kong who hold a British national (overseas) passport to reach and settle in the UK.). 
  • 6,114 people arrived on family reunion visas in the year ending September 2023 
  • 76% of the world’s displaced people stay in neighbouring countries according to UNHCR Global Trends