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A petition calling on the UK Government to create a new visa scheme for Palestinians has gained nearly 104,000 signatures and will now be debated by MPs in Parliament. 

The petition calls on ministers to create a Family Visa Scheme for Palestinian people affected by war to be allowed into the UK, similar to the one introduced for Ukrainians. 

Dozens of MPs and peers signed a letter sent to the Home Secretary in March calling for a special visa scheme for Palestinians with family in the UK, while nearly 60 charities, law firms and organisations have also sent a letter to James Cleverly calling for the creation of a Ukraine-style visa scheme for Palestinians trapped in Gaza. 

The organisations argued that existing immigration routes are “insufficient and not working” calling on the Home Office for urgent action to create a family reunion scheme. It comes as the number of people killed in Gaza since 7 October exceeds 35,000 and terrified families are being forced to flee Rafah as Israel’s military onslaught continues.

Palestinians have had to set up GoFundMe campaigns in attempts to raise the funds needed to flee Gaza after losing hope with the Home Office over restrictive requirements and having visas refused. 

The petition was supported by the Gaza Families Reunited campaign and states that the creation of a visa scheme would allow the UK Government to “demonstrate its commitment to compassion, inclusivity, and supporting those who have endured the hardships of war”. 

A spokesperson for the grassroots campaign group led by Palestinians families in the UK said: “There have been cases of people who have died in Gaza while waiting for the Home Office to make a decision on their visa application. This urgent scheme could make the difference between life and death for Palestinians seeking to join family in the UK.”

The petition states: “Together, let’s urge the government to enact policies that provide a lifeline for Palestinians seeking safety and a chance to rebuild their lives safely.”

Petitions that gather over 10,000 signatures get a response from the government and those that receive over 100,000 signatures are considered for debate in Parliament. 

Responding to the petition, the UK Government has stated that there are “no plans to introduce bespoke arrangements” and that “those wishing to come can apply under one of the existing visa routes”.

In its response the Government said: “We recognise that some people impacted by the events in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories may wish to join family in the UK. The Government is working with authorities across the region to facilitate the repatriation of British citizens and their family members who already hold permission to come to the UK.”

MPs will debate the petition this Monday afternoon at 4:30pm, which can be watched here

Hannah Davenport is news reporter at Left Foot Forward

The post Visa scheme for Palestinians to be debated by MPs after over 103,000 sign petition appeared first on Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate.

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