THE National is backing a campaign for a UK family visa scheme for Palestinians and urging readers to sign a petition to force MPs to at least debate the issue at Westminster.

The Gaza Families Reunited petition has already gathered over 83,000 supporters. And there is only a week left to reach the ultimate goal of 100,000 – which would mean the issue is considered for debate in the House of Commons.

The campaign is calling on the UK Government to create a scheme – building on the Ukraine Family Scheme and others – that would allow Palestinians affected by the crisis in Gaza to seek refuge and reunite with their families in the UK.


We encourage everyone to sign the petition. It only takes a few minutes and could help families reunite under the most dangerous and tragic of circumstances.

The National has previously reported on the difficulties for Gazans to obtain a UK visa given there’s no functioning visa centre amid the devastation, with over 33,000 Palestinians killed by Israel since the October 7 attack.

The Home Office has also repeatedly refused to waive fingerprint rules meaning that many resort, if possible, to making the dangerous and expensive journey over the border to Egypt to a UK visa centre in Cairo.

Hala, an Egyptian company, is charging Palestinians as much as £5000 per person to flee – gouging its prices 14-fold since the war began.

“People in Gaza face insurmountable obstacles when trying to evacuate to Egypt and have received minimal - if any - support from the UK Government to do so,” a spokesperson for the campaign said.

First Minister Humza Yousaf also backed the campaign last month saying that for those who do wish to leave Gaza, Scotland “is open and stands ready to welcome them”.

The campaign posted a video (below) this week of Palestinians involved in the plea making a direct call to the UK Government for their families to be able to have temporary sanctuary in Britain.

Campaigners said in the clip: “Our families have the right to live in our homeland, in freedom and dignity, but we are extremely concerned for their safety.

“As we continue appealing for an immediate ceasefire without success, we urgently call on you to create a Gaza Family Scheme."

It goes on: “Two years ago, you swiftly introduced the Ukraine Family Scheme to protect Ukrainian families. We are simply asking for the same protection for our families.

“We are 350 Palestinian families living, working and studying in the UK. For months, we have been trying to reunite with our loved ones.

“We have lost so many precious lives and we don’t want to lose any more. The Gaza Family Scheme is an urgent matter of life or death.”

The UK Government said in December it has “no plans to introduce bespoke arrangements for people arriving from the region”.

The issue should be debated at Westminster. It is the least the families deserve.

Anyone who is a UK resident or citizen can sign the petition here.