Thank you to everyone who has contacted me regarding the Refugees (Family Reunion) Bill, which is due to have its second reading in the Commons on Friday 16th March.
I very much agree that more needs to be done to reunite families and I share concerns about the efficiency of the processes in place for those who are entitled to join family in the UK, particularly children. As we know, unaccompanied migrant children are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse.
As you may recall, during the passage of the Immigration Act 2016 in the last Parliament, a number of attempts were made to review the rules around family reunion for refugees including options for extending the criteria. It is incredibly disappointing that the Government rejected these proposals and reiterated that it has no plans to extend the family reunion criteria.
The manifesto I stood on at the 2017 General Election promised to produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis, and I hope this is something that the Government will consider. I believe we need effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis and continue to uphold the proud British tradition of honouring the spirit of international law and our moral obligations by taking our fair share of refugees.
I am planning to be in Parliament for the bill on March 16th and will continue to follow the Government’s response to the refugee crisis closely.