Refugees: Eritrea

Home Office written question – answered on 31st January 2018.

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Photo of Alex Sobel Alex Sobel Labour/Co-operative, Leeds North West

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, whether there are plans to create safe and legal routes to the UK for Eritrean refugees.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

We operate four resettlement schemes, working closely with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, to provide safe and legal routes to the UK for the most vulnerable refugees. Eritrean nationals are potentially eligible under all four resettlement schemes.

The UK supports the principle that those in need of international protection should claim in the first safe country they arrive. Resettlement is complemented by the UK’s significant humanitarian aid programme and diplomatic efforts to end international conflict. We believe this approach is the best way to ensure that the UK’s help has the greatest impact for the majority of refugees who remain in the region and their host countries, whilst recognising that for some vulnerable people the only solution is to bring them to countries like the UK.

We have a comprehensive framework for refugees and their families to be safely reunited in the UK. Our family reunion policy allows immediate family members of those granted protection here to reunite with them and we have granted over 24,000 family reunion visas over the last five years. The Immigration Rules also provide for relatives with protection in the UK to sponsor children in serious and compelling circumstances. This policy is designed to provide a safe and legal route for close, dependent family members to join their refugee family in the UK, avoiding the need for them to make dangerous journeys to seek protection.

The UK continues to actively support the UN negotiations on the Migration and Refugee Compacts; our aim is to ensure these focus on supporting refugees and migrants closer to home, preventing dangerous journeys, tackling smuggling, as well as encouraging more resettlement globally.

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