UK Accepts 20,000 Syrian Refugees, But There’s A Catch
Prime Minister to the United Kingdom, David Cameron, announced that his government will accept up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the next five years. However, it later emerged that children and orphans, whom Cameron said are the priority of the government, will be deported back into their countries when they turn 18.
“We are proposing that Britain should resettle up to 20,000 Syrian refugees over the rest of this Parliament,” Mr. Cameron told UK’s House of Parliament on September 7. “In doing so we will continue to show the world that this is a country of extraordinary compassion always standing up for our values and helping those in need,” the prime minister added.
Mr. Cameron explained that Britain will work together alongside its other European partners but will decide its own approach in dealing with the migrant crisis. “So we will continue with our approach of taking refugees from the camps and from elsewhere in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon. This provides refugees with a more direct and safe route to the UK, rather than risking the hazardous journey to Europe which has tragically cost so many lives,” Mr Cameron outlined.
He added that Britain will also heed the advice of the UNHCR if it calls for immediate resettlement in the UK. In these cases, “vulnerable children, including orphans, will be a priority,” Mr. Cameron stressed. “We will also ensure that the full cost of supporting thousands of Syrian refugees in the UK will be met through our aid spending for the first year, easing the burden on local communities,” he added.
However, The Independent reported that as per former leader of the Liberal Democrats, Lord Ashdown, Mr. Cameron’s announcement means that “refugee orphans and children brought in under Cameron’s scheme will be deported at age 18.” According to a government spokesman who has spoken with The Independent, refugees taken under Mr. Cameron’s administration would be given the chance to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
The UK had been using its aid budget in helping the countries where these refugees are coming from, Syria and Libya among them. It is the only major country in the world that is consistent in spending 0.7 percent of its GDP on aid. Britain is now the second largest bilateral donor of aid to the Syrian conflict, including providing over 18 million food rations, giving 1.6 million access to clean water and providing education to a quarter of a million children. On September 4, Mr. Cameron also announced an additional £100 million in aid to help victims of the Syrian conflict.