The Refugee Council, British Red Cross, Amnesty International and others are campaigning to change the UK’s restrictive rules on refugee family reunion. Currently, family reunion for adult refugees is limited to their partner and children under the age of 18. For child refugees, there is no right to bring any family members to the UK. There is also no legal aid funding available for lawyers to assist people in making the often complex applications. On Friday 16 March, a private members bill will have its second reading and could make changes to the current rules which include expanding the definition of family member, giving refugee children the right to be reunited with their parents, and reintroducing legal aid for making family reunion applications. Please get in touch with your MP and ask them to attend the Second Reading of the Bill and disseminate the online action to your networks.
Also, a report out today ‘Safe but not Settled: The Impact of Family Separation on Refugees in the UK,’ co-authored by Oxfam and the Refugee Council, looks at the impact on refugee families living in the UK on being apart from their loved ones who are still facing grave danger overseas. The report shows that refugees living in the UK without their families can become desperate, even suicidal, when their loved ones are still facing danger overseas, which can prevent them from integrating into their communities in the UK. The report calls on the UK Government to expand the criteria for who qualifies as a family member for the purposes of refugee family reunion. Please promote the report across your networks, using the hashtag #FamiliesTogether.