The British parliament’s Home Affairs Select Committee report published Wednesday demonstrates that unless “dramatic changes” are made to the UK government’s refugee policy Britain will miss its own target of settling 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.
EDINBURGH (Sputnik) — One of the first moves made by Theresa May after she became UK prime minister was to scrap the position of the minister for refugees, a decision the SNP have criticized.
“Unless dramatic changes are made, the UK Government could widely miss its goal of resettling 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020 — a goal which itself is too little in the context of the challenge Europe faces,” Stuart McDonald, the Scottish National Party’s (SNP) immigration spokesman and a Westminster member of parliament, said in a statement following the publication of the report.
He urged the UK government and nations across the European Union to step up efforts in dealing with the refugee crisis.
“While the number of refugees arriving in Europe is undoubtedly one of the most profound challenges we have experienced, it was not unforeseen, and efforts to date have been inadequate,” McDonald added.
The Home Affairs Select Committee Report, titled “Migration crisis”, is broadly critical of the EU reaction to the refugee crisis, describing the bloc’s response as “too little, too late.” The report also raises serious concerns about the agreement reached between the European Union and Turkey to resettle Syrian refugees.
According to the report, the number of first time asylum applicants in the United Nations reached some 41,600 people in the year ending March 2016 showing a 30-percent increase over 12 months.
The report provides a series of recommendations to the British government, including reinforcement of maritime border patrol forces, overall increase of security, and clear strategy of the relationship with Frontex after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union.
Earlier this year the committee heard evidence from the then Refugee Minister Richard Harrington that the total cost of resettling the target 20,000 Syrian refugees in the United Kingdom would be 589 million pounds ($785.5 million).