Reception and integration of British Nationals arriving from overseas

Impact 5
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upper likelihood error bar
risk indicator
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ID 60
Risk theme Societal
Impact & Likelihood
Impact key
5 Catastrophic
4 Significant
3 Moderate
2 Limited
1 Minor
Likelihood key
5 >25%
4 5-25%
3 1-5%
2 0.2-1%
1 <0.2%


A significant proportion of British nationals (BNs) reside abroad, with approximately 5.5 million BNs estimated to live overseas in 2022. An adverse event in another country, such as a terrorist attack or natural disaster, may result in a sudden influx of BNs returning to the UK. For example, the COVID-19 pandemic saw BNs travelling to the UK with the intention to reside from 57 countries and territories.


The reasonable worst-case scenario assumes the reception and integration of a large number of destitute or vulnerable BNs arriving from overseas who do not normally reside in the UK and are unable to stay with family or friends. These individuals could arrive within a 3- to 4-week period following an emergency/ crisis overseas, such as conventional war, widespread civil unrest, political instability, sustained terrorism campaign or a natural hazard. There could be a small number of casualties or fatalities depending on the type of emergency overseas.

Key assumptions

It is assumed that BNs would seek to enter the UK as opposed to another country, with minimal notice. Government support and funding may be required for local authorities and other agencies to deliver this and cover recovery costs

Response capability requirements

There would need to be wide-ranging support services available
for the proportion of BNs that are destitute or vulnerable on arrival. This could range from a small proportion (meaning 10%) to a greater proportion (meaning 50% or higher), depending on the circumstance of the event. Local authorities (in conjunction with other agencies and the voluntary sector) should have support packages in place for vulnerable or destitute BN arrivals. This would include support at airports or arrival locations (such as food, water, clothing and medicines), and emergency shelter or temporary accommodation as part of the immediate response. Government support and funding may be required for local authorities and other agencies to deliver this and cover recovery costs.


A long-term integration package would need to be provided by local authorities (including engagement with other agencies and the voluntary sector). This would include employment assistance, education for school-aged BNs, and child and adult social care. Additional services may include mental-health screening, psychological support, counselling and victim support. There could also be longer-term housing requirements.