The first Syrian refugees accepted in the UK under the Government’s extended scheme have arrived in Glasgow.
A charter plane carrying around 100 people from camps on the border of the conflict zone touched down at Glasgow Airport at around 3.40pm on Tuesday.
Under the Government’s latest commitment, 4,000 people will be allowed to claim refuge in the UK each year.
The people will be picked from amongst the most vulnerable applicants, the Government has said.
Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, urged Scots to welcome the new arrivals with open arms.
“We are due to welcome Syrian refugees to Scotland tomorrow and we need to show that we are a country of compassion and acceptance,” she said.
“These people are fleeing their homes in the search for protection and security, and we are their refuge. We cannot let the actions of the few destroy the safety of the many.”
The Home Secretary Theresa May said everyone coming to the UK was subject to special checks.
“There are two levels of screening that take place,” she told BBC One’s Andrew Marr Show.
“First of all, we are taking people directly from the camps. We are working with UNHCR - UNHCR take biometrics, they look at documents, they interview people, they do their own process of screening against issues like war crimes and serious criminality.
“Then there is a further check that is done once people are referred to the UK. The Home Office then undertakes further checks, further biometrics are taken.”
The UK’s contribution to taking refugees is significantly fewer than other large EU countries.
David Cameron pledged to take in that number amid a public outcry following the publication of pictures of drowned three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, and a campaign by The Independent which urged the Prime Minister to “no longer turn a blind eye to the refugees’ plight”.
Germany has however said it expecting around a million people this year; the European Commission says three million people will arrive in the continent by the end of 2016.
Britain has also refused to take part in an EU quota scheme to redistribute hundreds of thousands of people who have already arrived and are in over-burdened southern European countries.
Additional reporting by PA
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