There are around 200 Jewish families living in the Yemen, of whom around 60 live in the town of Raidah and have family links to the UK. The ongoing political unrest in the country, combined with a growing Islamist threat, means these families increasingly fear for their lives. Several of them have been waiting months for their visa applications to be decided and have had to travel to the British Embassy in Cairo to have them processed, including during the Egyptian revolution.
Speaking from Westminster, Mike Freer MP said, “I am greatly concerned for the safety of these families. The situation in the Yemen is extremely unstable and radical Islamist extremists are growing in strength.
I have written to the Immigration Minister and yesterday urged him in the House to facilitate the visa applications. History has taught us that when Jewish families are in danger the very worst outcome is possible.”
During Home Office questions in the House of Commons yesterday there was the following exchange:
Mike Freer (Finchley and Golders Green, Conservative)
The Minister is aware of the 60 or 70 Yemeni Jews who are trapped in Yemen. What can he do to help to facilitate the visa applications of those families with strong British links?
Damian Green (Minister of State (Immigration), Home Office; Ashford, Conservative)
I am grateful to my hon. Friend for bringing up this issue. He will understand that it would be inappropriate for me to provide a running commentary at the Dispatch Box on individual applications for asylum or any other form of immigration, but I am aware that he has written to me about the matter and I will reply to him shortly.