The UK Immigration Rules 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. The Immigration Rules also provide for relatives with protection in the UK to sponsor children in serious and compelling circumstances. The Mandate resettlement scheme also allows those recognised by the UNCHR as refugees to join close family members here in the UK.
In addition, there is provision in the policy to grant visas outside the Rules in exceptional circumstances, which caters for extended family members who otherwise do not qualify under the Rules.
We do not believe there are unnecessary barriers to family reunion for refugees. Over the last five years there have been 24,700 family reunion visas issued –and this is in addition to the numbers granted asylum here or resettled here under our resettlement schemes.
We are listening carefully to concerns raised on this issue by Non-Governmental Organisations and others. We are currently reviewing our approach to family reunion as part of the Government’s wider asylum and resettlement policy strategy. We will be following the passage of the Family Reunion Family Member’s Bill closely and will continue our productive discussions in this area.