The first 1,000 Syrian refugees have now arrived in the UK under the government’s scheme to resettle vulnerable people living in refugee camps. Prime Minister David Cameron said the government was providing funding so the refugees get access to housing, healthcare and education.
The UK government has promised to accept 20,000 Syrians over five years.
Cameron has argued that accepting people only from camps in Syria, Turkey and Jordan will provide a “direct and safe” route to safety – instead of encouraging them to make the journey across the Mediterranean by boat.
In response to questioning from MPs, Home Secretary Theresa May said all refugees would be subject to rigorous security checks to make sure Islamic State militants were not among them.
There have been criticisms from some high profile figures who believe the UK’s response to the refugee crisis has not been enough. Lord Phillips, former UK Supreme Court head, and Lord Macdonald, ex-director of public prosecutions, were among 300 who signed an open letter on the issue. One retired judge said the UK could cope with taking in 75,000 refugees a year.