We are supporting a petition calling for Palestinians in the UK to be able to bring their families to safety.

According to the Ministry of Health in Gaza as of 21 March, at least 31,998 Palestinians have been killed in the Gaza Strip since 7 October. About 70% of those killed are reported to be women and children. A further 74,188 have been injured.

The Gaza Families Reunited campaign calls on the UK government to urgently introduce a Gaza Family Scheme. It has nearly 46,000 signatures so far. The campaign group includes 35 families who are based in Scotland.

The scheme is closely modelled on the Ukraine Family Scheme. It would allow applicants to join their family members in the UK. The campaign was recently backed by First Minister Humza Yousaf.

There are a number of key asks in the scheme, including:

For applicants to have to have their biometrics waived or deferred.

At the moment, the Home Office requires people to attend a biometrics appointment before they can make any immigration application under existing routes. However, the Visa Application Centre in Gaza is closed –  the nearest centre is in Egypt.

People seeking to evacuate Gaza are trapped in a Catch-22: they cannot enrol their biometrics because they cannot leave Gaza; and they cannot leave Gaza because they cannot enrol their biometrics.

Devastatingly, it was reported last week that two people died in Gaza while waiting to hear if the Home Office would waive or defer visa biometric rules.

For the meaning of ‘family’ to be extended

At present, the meaning of ‘family’ with existing immigration routes means only spouses and children. It does not include parents, sibling, in-laws, nieces, nephews etc.

The scheme would also seek to remove the huge financial obstacles that are currently in place. People trying to evacuate from Gaza to Egypt are being forced to pay £5,000 per adult and £2,500 per child.

Otherwise, people crossing the border need to have their names on the UK Government’s ‘evacuation list’.

The petition closes on the 18th April. It needs 100,000 signatures to be debated in Westminster. Its two main aims are to:


  1. Facilitate the safe evacuation of people applying under existing routes (e.g. adding their
    names to the British Government’s ‘evacuation list’); and in the longer term,
  2. Set up a bespoke route for Palestinians in Gaza to reunite with their immediate and
    extended family in the UK, including a waiver/deferral of biometric requirements, until it is
    safe to return.

Click here to sign the petition. You can also follow the Gaza Families Reunited campaign on Twitter or Instagram.


Support our Ramadan Appeal and help people seeking protection in Scotland.


Gilly Furmage
Author: Gilly Furmage