Palestinians should be offered similar visa schemes to Ukrainians, says Labour MP

By Staff

Palestinians fleeing the war in Gaza should be offered the same support and visa schemes as Ukrainian refugees, a Labour MP told the Commons. Andy Slaughter said Palestinians should be able to join their relatives in the UK or be hosted by families who wish to give them refuge.

Foreign Office minister Andrew Mitchell said the two situations are “very different”.

READ MORE: Thousands of London single mums relying on Universal Credit caught in ‘poverty trap’

Fleeing Ukrainians were offered visas which granted three years’ leave in the UK under programmes such as Homes for Ukraine, the Ukraine Family Scheme and the Ukraine Extension Scheme, but these are set to expire in March 2025.

The MP for Hammersmith said: “Every month in Hammersmith we hold Ukrainian open house to bring together all those supporting Ukrainian families who have fled that war.

“And every month I am asked why there are not similar visa schemes to allow Palestinians to join their relatives in the UK or be hosted by families who wish to give them refuge. What’s the Government’s answer to that?”

Mr Mitchell replied: “The two positions are not analogous, and are very, very different. But he will know… that we are doing everything we can to help individual cases in both instances and we will continue to do so.”

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Elsewhere in the debate, Labour MP Afzal Khan called on the Government to increase funding to the United Nation’s Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which is supporting Palestinian refugees.

Mr Khan, who represents Manchester Gorton, said: “Canada, Australia, Sweden, the EU have now confirmed that they have restored the funding to UNRWA, refuting Israel’s position that 450 members of the agency staff had participated in the 7th of October attack.”

“With people dying from imminent famine in Gaza, with Palestinians being killed trying to get flour to feed their families, the international community holds a degree of responsibility for failing to stop this.”

“In light of the catastrophic situation in Gaza, will the minister commit to restarting and increasing its funding to UNRWA as a matter of urgency?”

Mr Mitchell said: “We have already increased funding significantly, including to UNRWA.”

“He will know that Britain is not at the moment in a position of having to make a decision because we have fully funded what we said we would do and are not due to provide any further money until the end of April.”

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