Britain is set to sign a deal to allow a small number of Yemeni Jews to move to the UK, The Independent reported on Tuesday. According to the newspaper, the agreement comes following months of negotiations between the British Foreign Office and Yemeni authorities.
An estimated 20 or 30 families living in the northern town of Raida already have relatives living in the UK. They have been trying to seek sanctuary in Britain amid rising hate attacks, murders and forced conversions by the Shiite al-Houthi tribe.
Assaults against the country's small Jewish community intensified to such a level last year that the US State Department organised a series of airlifts to evacuate more than 100 Jews with connections to the Yemeni community already living there, the British newspaper added.
Until now, Britain has always refused to offer a similar refugee status to those with British relatives. Many Yemeni families in the UK have complained that their relatives' visa requests had been regularly turned down or held up. But under the terms of the new negotiations, Raida Jews with British connections will be invited to apply for a three-month visitor visa to see their relatives in Britain. There is still a group of 70 Jews living in the capital Sana'a under government protection, but they are not included in the negotiations with Britain.
Once out of the country, the Raida Jews will be able to claim refugee status.