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

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall am 4:30 pm ar 13 Mai 2024.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

Photo of Cat Smith Cat Smith Chair, Petitions Committee, Chair, Petitions Committee 4:30, 13 Mai 2024

I hope that the Minister has heard the right hon. Lady’s intervention, and that he might respond to some of her points in his remarks.

For those who are able to get out of Gaza and into Egypt, their future is uncertain. Palestinians have no status in Egypt, so students, teachers, small business owners and so on are left in limbo, out of immediate danger but unable to start rebuilding their lives. It seems clear to me that events in recent years in Ukraine, Gaza, Afghanistan and beyond mean that, as a country, we need to look again at how we support and protect those fleeing conflict. At present, there appears to be a grim lottery when it comes to the question of who we are prepared to do everything we can to help.

The immediate priority, however, must be Gaza, given the devastation of the conflict and the lack of support for Palestinians in surrounding countries. As with those from Hong Kong and Ukraine, we can see a very clear need for a visa scheme for Palestinians. The petitioners are asking a very basic question: why should people living in the UK not be able to apply to sponsor their family members in order to keep them safe while the conflict is ongoing? If we were able to implement a visa scheme for the people of Ukraine, why can we not implement a similar one for the people living in Gaza?