Refugees (Family Reunion) (No.2) Bill

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:39 pm on 16th March 2018.

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Photo of Rebecca Pow Rebecca Pow Conservative, Taunton Deane 12:39 pm, 16th March 2018

I am going to press on.

To be clear, a great deal of thought and attention has gone into this system, and the Government are fully committed to implementing section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. As we have heard, Ministers have visited Greece and Italy to discuss processes, taking into account relevant national laws applicable to the scheme’s implementation. The Government have also invited referrals of eligible children from France, Greece and Italy, and we are working to ensure the safe identification and transfer of eligible children.

In partnership with the UN Refugee Agency, we operate numerous schemes—many have been referred to already—such as the gateway, mandate, children at risk and vulnerable persons relocation schemes, to make sure that those in most need can find a secure home. The children at risk scheme alone will resettle 3,000 children and their families from the middle east and north Africa over this Parliament. In addition, as mentioned, the Government have an ongoing commitment under the Dublin regulation, and we continue to work closely with member states and relevant partners to ensure that children with qualifying family in the UK can be transferred quickly and safely to have their asylum claim determined in the UK.

This country takes its moral obligations very seriously and wants to contribute to making the world a better place, yet it is important that in our generosity we do not inadvertently create circumstances that harm some of our most vulnerable. We do not want to encourage children to undertake dangerous journeys in the hope that relatives can join them later, only to fall prey to human traffickers. Sadly, that happens all too often.