Families Being Kept Apart by Legal Aid Reforms


Earlier this month, parliamentarians came together to discuss a new report by the British Red Cross. It highlighted the difficulties faced by refugees who have been separated from their families.

Families being kept apart by legal aid reforms

We asked our Head of Immigration, Emma Brooksbank to comment:

"Government policy recognises that families often become separated when people flee their home country, for reasons such as war and conflict. The immigration rules and policy provide a mechanism for bringing these families back together. If it worked well, family reunion would be a process which would enable the families of people who have been recognised as refugees, so those who have fled persecution in their home country, to be reunited."

"Unfortunately the process is not currently effective."

"The combination of poor decision making at Embassies and High Commissions, complicated immigration rules, the imposition of strict documentary requirements such as a marriage certificate from a country where legal documents are not readily available or where documents have been left behind as people have fled with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing and cost result in refugee families being forced to remain separated."

"I would like to see the government stand by its commitment to offer protection to those fleeing persecution and their families by improving decision making, making the rules more straight forward, relaxing the documentary requirements and putting in place adequate funding for family reunion applications."

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