Refugees: Families

Home Office written question – answered on 11th April 2019.

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Photo of Tim Farron Tim Farron Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (Communities and Local Government)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of refugee family reunion on the integration of refugees in the UK.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

The UK has a proud history of providing protection to those who need it – and this Government is committed to ensuring refugees can take positive steps towards integration as they rebuild their lives in the UK.

The Government provides a safe and legal route to bring families together through its family reunion policy. This allows a partner and children under 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country. Under this policy, we have granted visas to over 26,000 partners and children of those granted protection in the UK in the last five years – that is over 5,000 a year. In exceptional circumstances, our policy also makes clear there is discretion to grant visas outside the Immigration Rules, which caters for extended family members including young adult sons or daughters who are dependent on family here and living in dangerous situations.

Family connections are an important enabler of integration. However, we must also ensure we do not create incentives for more people, particularly children, to leave their homes and risk dangerous journeys hoping relatives can join them later. Those who need protection must claim in the first safe country they reach – that is the fastest route to safety.

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