The Government provides a safe and legal route to bring families together through its refugee 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, over 29,000 family reunion visas have been issued in the last 5 years.
The Government is familiar with the calls for an expansion of eligible family members for the purposes of refugee family reunion. However, amending the policy without careful thought could significantly increase the numbers who could qualify to come here, not just from conflict regions but any country from which someone is granted protection. This would mean extended family being able to come here who themselves do not need protection – which risks reducing our capacity to assist the most vulnerable refugees.
We also believe that if children were allowed to sponsor parents, this 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.