Refugees: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 27th January 2020.

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Photo of Lord Alton of Liverpool Lord Alton of Liverpool Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by Amnesty International, The Refugee Council and Save the Children Without my Family, published on 10 January, which calls for changes to Government policy on family separation of child refugees in the UK.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The Government provides safe and legal routes 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.

Our current policy does not allow child refugees to sponsor their parents. The Government’s view is that if children could sponsor parents, it would risk creating incentives for more children to be encouraged, or even forced, to leave their family and risk hazardous journeys to the UK. This plays into the hands of criminal gangs who exploit vulnerable people and goes against our safeguarding responsibilities.

Our policy is not designed to keep child refugees apart from their parents, but in considering any policy we must think carefully about the wider impact to avoid putting more people unnecessarily into harm’s way.

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