Refugees and Family Reunion

Thank you for contacting me about family reunion. 

I can assure you I strongly support the principle of family unity, and I am glad that there already is a comprehensive framework for refugees and their families to be safely reunited in the UK. The present refugee family reunion policy allows immediate family members of those granted protection in the UK to reunite with them here. The family provisions in the immigration rules provide for relatives with protection in the UK to sponsor children when there are serious and compelling circumstances.

The policy is also clear that where an application fails under the rules, the Government will consider whether there are exceptional reasons to grant leave outside the rules. In addition, refugees with family members in the UK may be eligible for resettlement under the Mandate and Gateway Scheme.

The family reunion policy is designed to provide a safe and legal route for close, dependent family members to join their refugee family in the UK. This avoids the need for family members to make dangerous journeys in order to seek protection. It is crucial that our efforts are concentrated on ensuring that existing resettlement schemes are used to full effect, and that the current rules work properly and effectively. This way we can help those who need it most.

On expanding the scope of the UK’s family reunion policy, I very much welcome the fact that the Minister for Immigration is listening to all sides of the debate on family reunion policy and it is good news that discussions between stakeholders continue.

Unfortunately, as a Government Whip, I cannot contribute to debates but I do follow what is said and I speak often to Ministers about constituents' concerns.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

June 2019