Palestinians: Visa Scheme — [Martin Vickers in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall am 5:29 pm ar 13 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Sam Tarry Sam Tarry Llafur, Ilford South 5:29, 13 Mai 2024

My hon. Friend makes a very good point. The Canadian scheme has a lot of merit, and I hope that Ministers look into it properly. Let us remind ourselves that it was just two years ago that the Government swiftly introduced the Ukraine family scheme, as part of that which British citizens and permanent residents were able to sponsor a wide range of family members—parents, siblings, aunts, cousins, nieces and nephews—for visas. That sponsorship scheme was open to Ukrainians with no family ties to the UK, it was free of charge, and the visas last three years. Many of us, including my hon. Friend Tulip Siddiq, have given specific cases of individual Palestinians who have family members, both in the west bank and in Gaza, who are suffering so badly. Surely, those things could be brought forward as an immediate way for them to be given a safe and legal path to refuge.

Nobody should have to pay tens of thousands of pounds to get across the border at Rafah. We should be able to put in place arrangements in our immigration system so that people can provide their digital fingerprints and make applications in a way that is right for our country, but allows them to leave quickly and arrive at a safe haven on our shores as quickly as possible. On top of that, where they are able to, I believe that those people should be permitted to work immediately. Many of them are doctors, academics and so on. The Gazan people are a highly skilled, incredibly intelligent and well-educated workforce, and many of them would love to make their contribution in return for safety and refuge from the barbarity that they are facing.