Britain must reunite refugee families - Refugee Council
November 20, 2015

Britain must reunite refugee families

The Refugee Council is calling on the Government to reunite refugee families ahead of a crucial vote in Parliament on 1 December.

Next month, MPs will vote an amendment to the Immigration Bill which could allow refugees in Britain to reunite with their loved ones safely and more easily.

At the moment, too many refugees are forcibly separated from their loved ones, leaving refugees with no choice but to take dangerous journeys to and through Europe in a desperate attempt to reach the people they love most.

Ask your MP to vote to reunite more refugee families. Email them now.

The system currently in place which is supposed to allow refugees in Britain to be reunited with their families is complex and hard to navigate without legal advice—something that refugees often can’t afford. It’s vital this process is made simpler and safer, and that refugees are given free legal advice to help them access their rights.

But it’s not just a complex system refugees are faced with. At the moment, harsh rules mean that refugees in Britain are only permitted to bring their spouse and children who are under 18 to come and join them in safety. Older children, parents and other close relatives are barred from travelling, even if it means they are left in danger.

For child refugees who arrive in Britain alone, the situation is even worse. Unaccompanied children have fewer rights than adult refugees; they aren’t allowed to bring anyone to safety in Britain, including their parents. These rules permanently divide child refugees from their mums and dads.

These unnecessarily harsh rules leave many refugees in Britain and abroad facing impossible choices: either they can accept that they will never be able to see their loved ones again, or they can pay a smuggler to bring their family to join them in safety.

Refugee Council Head of Advocacy Dr. Lisa Doyle said:

“Many of us in Britain take it for granted that we’re able to live in safety with our mums, dads and children. Sadly, for refugee families torn apart by war and persecution, the heartache of separation is a daily pain which is worsened by Britain’s unnecessarily harsh immigration policies.

“No families should be left to make impossible choices in order to be together. No families should be unnecessarily, permanently divided and in danger.

“Changing the rules won’t just bring refugee families back together; it could help save lives.”

The Refugee Council is calling on the Government to change the rules to allow more refugees to be able to reunite with their loved ones in safety.

We have a chance to change things but we don’t have much time. On 1 December MPs will be voting on making changes to the rules which would allow more refugee families to live together.

Ask your MP to vote to reunite refugee families. Email them now, and please ask your friends and family to do the same.