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Refugees (Family Reunion) (No.2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:03 am on 16th March 2018.

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Photo of Ranil Jayawardena Ranil Jayawardena Conservative, North East Hampshire 11:03 am, 16th March 2018

The hon. Gentleman escorts me all around the world as we build positive trade relationships with our friends around the world. I will talk about some of that, and perhaps we can continue to agree on that, rather than on the substance of the Bill.

First, let us consider what the Bill asks. It aims to require the Home Secretary within six months to widen immigration rules and grant visas to a wide range of relatives. I contend that making it easier for a parent to join a child refugee could incentivise families to send their child ahead on a perilous journey, often in the hands of unscrupulous people traffickers.

The Bill would also amend the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012, to extend legal aid to family reunion applications, but this is taxpayers’ money, and we must therefore be very responsible in how we spend it. The Bill makes no mention of how to encourage integration, how to provide education or how to offer other opportunities to refugees; nor does it make any attempt to tackle the situations that people are fleeing. Rather, it simply accepts that that will continue to be the case.