Like many refugees living in the UK, Goran*, who is Syrian Kurdish, is suffering at the hands of the UK’s restrictive rules which keep him apart from the little brother he loves and needs. Read his story and join the campaign to bring refugee #FamiliesTogether
“I come from Syria and came to the UK in 2016 with my wife and three children. My first impressions of the UK were that it feels very safe here; it is democratic and there is freedom. There are a lot of work opportunities if you know the language. We really like these things about the UK.
Back in Syria I was working two jobs, making money, and life was okay. I used to do electronic adverts on billboards all over Syria, and also had a delivery and distribution job. But when the war started and Daesh came, they messed everything up; it all went downhill.
We had to flee so we went to the border of Kurdistan and Syria. The first night, we slept on the ground on the border, and then the next morning we were met by UN officials. They took us to a refugee camp and put us in tents. Then we didn’t get residency for another 6 months after that.
The war has split my family apart – my sister is in Belgium with her husband and children and my parents and two other sisters are in Qamshli, Syria where the living situation is very bad.
The person I worry about most though is my younger brother, who is just 19 and alone in Kurdistan with no family to help him. The situation is very dangerous; sometimes he sleeps on the street during hailstorms and cold. He applied to the UN for a tent they denied him one because they said he didn’t need it. The Kurdish army caught him once and he escaped and ran to Kurdistan. He can’t go to Syria at all because they will definitely enlist him to go fight of he did. I really worry about my brother.
As the rules currently stand my brother does not qualify for family reunion, which means I do not know when I will ever be able to be with him again. I find being apart from him really heart breaking, especially when I know that he is so vulnerable.
Syrian families, and especially Kurdish ones, are very, very close families and being apart really affects everyday life. My wife is apart from her family too and this has a really bad impact on her health and happiness. If we could be reunited with my family our life would be completely different; we would be so much happier and have much more energy to support our children. The loneliness is the problem, and our family abroad feel lonely as well. The most important thing for me is to be reunited with them and to live together in peace and safety.”
This Friday 16th March, MPs have a vital opportunity to make a real difference to the lives refugees like Goran. The Refugee Council, as part of the Families Together coalition, is urging MPs to take that chance. Angus MacNeil’s private member’s bill on refugee family reunion is due to be debated in the Commons. This bill would allow a wider range of family members to be reunited with refugees living in the UK. It would mean that Goran could be reunited with his brother and his parents here in the UK. It would also reintroduce legal aid for refugee family reunion so that refugees who have lost everything can afford to navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families. Please find out more about this campaign and support us here – http://refugeestogether.uk/
*name has changed to protect identity