The UK’s current refugee family reunion rules are very restrictive. They exclude the complex relationships that affect families torn apart by war – for example, people caring for orphaned younger siblings, or unaccompanied children who’ve been separated from their parents.
This means refugees who have reached safety can find it almost impossible to bring their dependent family members to join them in the UK.
For refugees like Abebe, who’s been separated from his pregnant wife for many months, being apart from close family is a huge barrier to rebuilding a life in the UK. It’s also incredibly dangerous –leaving families like his stranded in unsafe situations or risking their lives to reach their loved ones.
Refugee Action believes refugees should be able to be reunited with their dependent family members.
To make this happen, we want to see the eligibility criteria for refugee family reunion widened to recognise all relationships where the family members are dependent on the refugee. This should include, at a minimum, children over 18, parents, grandparents, grandchildren and siblings. In addition, unaccompanied child refugees should be permitted to reunite with the relatives on whom they depend, such as their parents.