SCOTLAND'S migration minister has urged the UK Government to expand the number of Palestinian people who can join their families in the UK in line with the Gaza families reunited campaign.

In a letter to UK minister Tom Pursglove, Emma Roddick pushed for the Refugee Family Reunion scheme to include “immediate and extended family, including parents, children over 18, siblings and their children”.

The current system allows only for partners and children under 18 to join family in the UK.

Roddick suggested the minister meet with families of people stuck in Gaza and hear their “harrowing experiences”.

READ MORE: We need your support to reach 100,000 signatures for Gaza visa scheme

She also called for the Home Office to waive the need for biometric data to be collected for Gazans looking to leave before they arrive in the UK, or to transfer those trying to come here to a site where they can make an application under the current system.

It comes after The National backed the campaign for a UK family visa scheme for Palestinians and urged readers to sign a petition to force MPs to at least debate the issue at Westminster.

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 National:

Roddick wrote: “The Scottish Government and the Scottish Refugee Council fully support the aims of the Gaza Families Reunited campaign alongside more than 74,000 people who have signed a public petition as well as more than 75 migrants’ rights organisations and law firms across the UK.

“The campaign calls for a scheme to be opened for relatives of all Palestinians in the UK, not just those with refugee status.

“This should be open to a wider cohort of immediate and extended family, including parents, children over 18, siblings and their children.

“Before replying to this letter, I would like to request that you meet with members of the campaign who would be happy to share some of their harrowing experiences with you.”

The National: Emma Roddick has been sharing her thoughts on social media - for better or worse

Before responding to her letter, Roddick asked that the minister meet with Gaza Families Reunited as she did.

She also told the story of Doaa, whom she said spent six weeks without being able to contact her mother, sister and children, as they made the trip from the north of Gaza to Rafah in the south of the territory on foot.

She then spoke of Ramy, who has lost 200 members of his extended family.

READ MORE: Palestinian-Scots call for Gaza family reunion visa scheme

Since the outbreak of war in Gaza, the minister said she has received “several hundred” letters from residents asking to come to Scotland to seek safety, including one father who wrote six times, whose 11-year-old daughter died due to “a lack of specialist food and medical support”.

“Acting now to provide a temporary place of sanctuary for Gazans with family in the UK will not only save lives but is fully aligned with the UK’s responsibility to protect civilians and provide humanitarian assistance to those in need,” the minister said.

Roddick also pushed for protections for human rights defenders in the region, including where necessary by facilitating their relocation to the UK, as part of the UK’s overall response to the current crisis”, she said.

READ MORE: Two Palestinians died waiting for Home Office to waive fingerprint rules

A spokesperson for the UK Government said: “We are working around the clock to get British nationals, who want to leave, out of Gaza. We have a team on the ground in Cairo and at the Rafah crossing providing consular assistance.

“We currently have no plans to establish a separate route for Palestinians to come to the UK. However, any dependants of British citizens who need a visa, can apply for one.”