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Written - A Resettlement Scheme for Elderly and Vulnerable British People in Zimbabwe

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Rhodri Morgan, the First Minister

The UK Government has today made a statement regarding a scheme to support the resettlement from Zimbabwe of vulnerable and elderly British people, some of whom may choose to live in Wales.  In this case, the Assembly Government will offer the necessary range of services.

There are understood to be some 3,000 British citizens and British nationals with the right of abode in the UK, presently living in Zimbabwe in these two categories, either because they are aged 70 or over, or vulnerable because of care needs or medical conditions.  Since 2007 the UK Government has advised vulnerable British people and their families to consider whether they need to remain in Zimbabwe, if they are concerned about the situation in the country.  This advice remains unchanged despite the recent changes in the political situation.  

The UK Government is concerned about elderly and vulnerable British people who increasingly may be unable to support themselves in Zimbabwe but who are unable to move to the UK without assistance.  The UK Government is therefore ready to offer those British people assistance to resettle in the UK. It is putting in place arrangements to receive, assess housing and care needs and provide ongoing support to those British people who wish to resettle here.  Discussions are ongoing with appropriate agencies in Wales regarding the practical arrangements for receiving those who may choose to return to live in Wales.  

Older and vulnerable British people in Zimbabwe are being informed of the assistance available.  It is difficult to anticipate the extent of interest in this offer, but it is estimated that up to 750 households may wish to come to the UK over the next 18 months or so.  It is not clear how these would be distributed across the UK and how many might want to settle in Wales.  That will only become apparent as applications are made.

The British Embassy is not advising people to leave Zimbabwe and it continues to provide a full consular service to those who remain.

The Assembly Government will provide the support necessary to those vulnerable people who choose to settle here and is confident that we will be able to meet the needs of any person in these categories that chooses to resettle in Wales.  Estimates of numbers likely to choose Wales are not available but on a pro rata basis and after allowing for the popularity of Wales as a retirement area, it is difficult to imagine that the numbers of households concerned would exceed 50.