Yesterday I used Home Office questions to ask Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes about the Government policy on welcoming refugees. I will also meet with her next week to discuss refugee integration and family reunion, in my role as Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees. I’ll report back on this.
Imagine making a long and dangerous journey across Europe to escape the horrors of war – only to find that your mother, sister or son were still in harm’s way. This is the reality for many of the refugees fleeing the Syrian conflict, who find it hard to integrate in the UK or get on with their lives when they are separated from their families.
Last month I helped ensure the Refugee (Family Reunion) Bill pass its second reading. If made into law, this would make it easier for refugees to be reunited with their families. But there is still more to do to turn it into law. In response to my question, the Minister committed to looking again at the Bill. This is real progress – the government opposed it at second reading.
Changing the law around family reunion is only one part of improving life for refugees, but the cross-party support it has received sends a positive signal. I will be discussing this further with Caroline Nokes. Watch this space!