March 2016 – Reuniting Refugee Family Members

March 2016 – Reuniting Refugee Family Members

Thank you for contacting me about reuniting refugees with family members.

As you have mentioned, the Government’s refugee family reunion policy allows immediate family members of a person in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status – that is a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18, who formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country of origin – to reunite with them in the UK. I am very glad that such a scheme exists, which makes sure that family members that have been divided can once again be reunited.

I appreciate your belief that the Government should expand the scheme, however as I understand it there are no plans to widen the criteria. The criteria are fully compliant with the UK’s international obligations, and enable thousands of people each year to be reunited with their families in the UK. Three discretionary resettlement schemes are also in place for recognised refugees for whom resettlement is the most appropriate answer. These schemes are operated in partnership with the UNHCR: Gateway; Mandate; and the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme.

It is important to note that the Government is also making a significant contribution to support refugees and their families in other ways. The UK has pledged £2.3 billion in humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis, and we intend to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees displaced to neighbouring countries over the lifetime of this Parliament.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.