Worcester is home to nearly two dozen people believed to have fled the conflict or been persecuted in other countries, according to Home Office data.

The figures have been revealed as the UK prepares to take in more people fleeing war in Ukraine.

Data shows that communities in Worcester have already taken in 20 refugees through other resettlement programs since 2014, four of whom arrived last year.

Figures show that a total of 16 people have been housed through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme.

After resettling more than 20,000 refugees in local authority areas, the VPRS was replaced in February 2021 by the UK Resettlement Scheme, which provided accommodation for four people in Worcester.

The government has launched a new sponsorship program, which will allow members of the public, charities and businesses to provide a safe space for Ukrainians.

Tim Naor Hilton, chief executive of the charity Refugee Action, has urged MPs to support a Lords Amendment to the Government’s proposed Nationality and Borders Bill to support more refugees and create a commitment to resettling 10,000 people each year.

He said cuts to resettlement programs had left local authorities struggling to invest in refugee services and said the amendment could improve the country’s response to those fleeing conflict.

Separate figures show asylum applications in the UK rose by 63% to 48,540 in 2021 – the highest number for almost two decades.

Worcester was home to at least one asylum seeker – someone seeking refuge while applying for the right to be recognized as a refugee – in December.

While awaiting a decision, asylum seekers cannot work but may qualify for financial assistance and housing through what is known as Section 95 support.

Around 54,700 asylum seekers across the UK were receiving Section 95 support at the end of last year, including the person pictured in the Worcester figures.

A government spokeswoman said: “Our new immigration plan will fix the broken asylum system, making it fair for those who need our help and tough on those who abuse our hospitality.”

Figures do not include those resettled through the recently established Afghan Citizen Resettlement Scheme.