Politics: How do we fix our broken asylum system
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This week has seen the removal of the last covid restrictions in Scotland, meaning there is no legal requirement to wear face coverings in indoor settings.
This is a welcome move, if somewhat overdue, and brings us back into lockstep with the rest of the UK.
I hope that this final removal of restrictions will help spur on the economic and social recovery from the pandemic.
It is clear that the Covid-19 virus is still with us, but we are learning to live with it – like we have done with the flu and the common cold.
Of course, the UK-wide vaccine programme has been critical to helping us get here.
I would urge all my constituents to continue being mindful of the sensible precautions that can be taken, as well as to get vaccines and boosters when available.
Over recess, I have joined some of the local Scottish Conservative and Unionist council candidates to discuss local issues with constituents.
Just one of the issues that comes up, is the availability and accessibility of electric vehicle (EV) charger points.
EVs are getting more affordable, and I have seen a huge increase in their numbers in the local area over the last few years.
But I am increasingly concerned to hear about the lack of chargers, and their all-too-often illogical placement in the local area.
Often, these chargers are in dim-lit corners of car parks which is understandably off-putting to many.
By 2030, all new cars will have to be electric or alternative fuelled and so it is vital that we have the infrastructure to meet demand.
Last week saw the announcement of the UK’s Immigration and Economic Development Partnership with Rwanda.
I have heard many people raising concerns about this policy but I have yet to hear those voices offer a viable alternative to the people trafficking crisis.
The Nationality and Borders Bill will fix the broken asylum system by allowing the UK Government, for the first time, to distinguish between people coming here legally and illegally and for this distinction to affect their status in the UK – helping break the cruel business model of the vile people trafficking gangs.
This Conservative Government has done more than any other previous UK Government to resettle vulnerable people.
Since 2015, Conservative Governments have offered a place to over 185,000 men, women, and children seeking refuge, including 100,000 from Hong Kong, 20,000 through the Syrian resettlement scheme, 13,000 from Afghanistan.
On top of this, the UK Government have issued more than 40,000 Refugee Family Reunion visas.
And, most recently, 56,000 Ukrainians have been welcomed so far to the UK since the Russian invasion.
I welcome this new partnership with Rwanda – a fast growing economy that is recognised globally for its record on welcoming and integrating migrants.
And of course, we will also continue to settle thousands of people every year here in the UK through safe and legal routes.
I have worked with several hosts in Banff and Buchan to help progress visa applications for Ukrainian families to come here and I am keen to help constituents and their new guests in any way I can.
I would also like to remind readers that my office stands ready to assist with any immigration issues – not just those related to Ukraine.
As ever, my office can be contacted at email@example.com or on 01261 818744.