Hope for refugee families
It is six months since MPs voted in favour of vital changes needed to allow more refugee families, torn apart by war and persecution, to be reunited in safety in the UK. The vote proved that the importance of family unity is something that MPs and the British public can agree on. Families belong together.
Now the UK government has announced a new “Calais leave” that offers hope to young people transferred from France to the UK during the closure of the Calais camp, allowing those who didn’t qualify for refugee status to remain in the UK with their family members and build lives here. This new form of leave marks a positive step towards recognising the importance of family unity, but there are many more vulnerable people who could benefit from similar policy changes. The British Red Cross backs the call, for example, for refugee children in the UK to be able to sponsor their parents to join them here.
This year, the British Red Cross has supported 679 families to reunite and we know the difference it can make, both for the safety of the person arriving in the UK and for the positive impact on the whole family. We hope last week’s announcement is an indication of more positive changes based on the principle of family unity, and on the progression of Angus MacNeil’s refugee family reunion bill in parliament. Jon Featonby, policy and advocacy manager for refugees and asylum at British Red Cross London EC2