MPs to debate UK plan to take 20,000 Syrian refugees
8 September 2015
From the section UK Politics
An emergency debate will be held in Parliament later on Britain’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis.David Cameron has said the UK will accept up to 20,000 people from camps surrounding Syria over the next five years, with priority given to vulnerable children.But Labour said that was inadequate and secured the three-hour Commons debate.Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper insisted the UK must also help refugees who have already reached Europe.The prime minister said the UK had a “moral responsibility” to those displaced by the conflict in Syria.
But he said taking people from camps in Syria, Turkey and Jordan would provide a “direct and safe” route to safety, instead of encouraging them to make the “hazardous” journey across the Mediterranean by boat. The new arrivals will be offered five-year humanitarian visas, under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme, and their resettlement will be paid for in the first year from the overseas aid budget.
Syrian refugees in the UK
more refugees will be resettled in the UK by 2020
Syrian asylum seekers have been allowed to stay since 2011
25,771 people applied for asylum in the UK in the year to end June 2015
2,204 were from Syria
87% of Syrian requests for asylum were granted
145 Syrian asylum seekers have been removed from the UK since 2011
Source: Home Office
The UK has been forced to defend its response to the migrant crisis in recent days. Mr Cameron has refused to take part in a proposed EU-wide quota system to resettle those people already in Europe, instead pointing to the UK’s contribution of £1bn in humanitarian aid to Syria.He had said that taking more people into the UK was not “the simple answer” to the crisis, but on Monday, announced the UK would do more.However, the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas said the commitment to resettle 20,000 refugees “falls pitifully short of what’s needed”, while the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby called it a “very slim response”.’Frontloaded’An estimated 340,000 asylum seekers have arrived in Europe so far this year, most braving dangerous sea journeys from North Africa and Turkey.France said on Monday it would take in 24,000 refugees over the next two years, while about 18,000 people arrived in Germany last weekend alone. But Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Romania have all joined the UK in rejecting the …Read More