A FLIGHT carrying around 100 Syrian refugees has touched down at Glasgow Airport.

The chartered plane arrived at around 3.30pm after a six hour flight from Beirut.

Several more special flights will arrive at airports around Britain in the coming months as part of a programme to take 20,000 refugees.

Stressing the difference between those arriving as part of the UK Government’s vulnerable persons relocation (VPR) programme and those refugees making their way across Europe, sources say all those on the three flights will have been vetted before leaving camps in Jordan.

Syrian refugees in Scotland: all you need to know 

Biometric tests and finger-printing, along with other unspecified checks, have been conducted by both UK Home Office officials and representatives from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

Sources insist the security assessment procedures have been in place for some time and are not a reaction to Friday’s attacks on Paris Islamic State. A fourth plane will bring more refugee arrivals to Scotland in the second week of December.

Although about 20 local authorities in Scotland have volunteered to take part in the VPR scheme, today’s arrivals will be given sanctuary in just five – so far unspecified – council areas. At least two of those taking part are understood to have requested there is no acknowledgement of their role for what one insider said were “all the right reasons”.

Although the biggest single group from Syria to arrive in the UK in the current crisis, about 55 refugees have been relocated to Glasgow in recent weeks.

Once on the ground the refugees will pass through customs like regular travellers, with all their specific personal details already in the possession of the airport security.

Once passed air side they will be met by their local authority hosts, as well as the UK minister with responsibility for Syrian refugees, Richard Harrington, and the Scottish Government’s Minister for External Affairs and International Development Humza Yousaf.

Read more: The Syrian refugees who are already here


Following refreshments it is understood they will then be taken either directly to the accommodation being provided by the host councils or, depending on the arrival time and distance from Glasgow Airport, put up in hotels for the night before travelling onwards.

One source said: “We (the councils involved) have had weeks to plan this. We know exactly who will be coming, their skills, their educational needs and family set-ups for suitable accommodation.

“The big tasks are all sorted in the first full day; getting people registered with the NHS, getting youngsters into the school environment and housed. Some authorities have a long experience of this and the knack is to get the people in and settled with the minimum of fuss.”

Another said: “The crucial difference between those in the VPR programmed is the checks. These people are fleeing Islamic State and we know who they are and what their circumstances are.”

At least 2,000 refugees will be given sanctuary in Scotland but The Herald understands local councils are anticipating the 20,000 refugees Prime Minister David Cameron has said the UK will accept to be revised upwards in the near future, increasing the number then coming north of the border from the current estimate.

There has also been debate amongst the councils, Scottish and |UK Governments and specialist agencies as to whether reception centres could be required in the future.

Sources within local government said most councils favoured continuing with the present system of having refugees in their own accommodation within 24 hours of arriving in Scotland.