This afternoon, the Prime Minister will make a statement in the House of Commons setting out the Government’s response to the refugee crisis. Ahead of this, the Refugee Council have issued a briefing on the crisis, setting out the ways in which refugees fleeing war and persecution can be provided with safe and legal routes to find protection.
In the briefing, we call for the Government to increase the ways refugees can reach the UK without needing to undertake dangerous journeys across land and sea. Specifically, we call for:
- A considerable increase in the number of refugees arriving in the UK from around the world via the resettlement schemes the UK currently runs. At a time when the world is facing the greatest refugee crisis since the Second World War, the UK should be resettling tens of thousands of refugees.
- Making it easier for refugees already in the UK to be reunited with their family members.
- Exploring humanitarian visas.
The Refugee Council also believe the UK should take more responsibility for those refugees who have arrived in Europe. In one week during August, 17,000 Syrians arrived in Greece – in the year ending June 2015, the UK received 33,000 asylum applications in total.
The Prime Minister’s statement is expected to add further detail to the announcement made last week that the UK will take “thousands more” Syrian refugees.
Commenting on that announcement, Refugee Council’s Chief Executive Maurice Wren said:
It is very welcome news that the Prime Minister has announced that Britain will increase the number of Syrians we will resettle. We urge David Cameron to be ambitious about the scale of the increase and be thinking in the tens of thousands in order to make a significant difference to those struggling to survive in the region.
Each resettlement place Britain provides will be life changing, if not life-saving for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees.