House of Lords Committee Stage Briefing NBB

January 21, 2022

This briefing focuses on the provisions about the asylum system set out in Part 2- Clause 11 and in Part 5- Clause 69. The differential treatment outlined in clause 11 punishes refugees based on the way that they arrived in the UK. UNHCR has stated that the creation of Group 2 refugees is discriminatory and is incompatible with the 1951 Refugee Convention. Moreover, no evidence has ever been produced that this will deter these irregular journeys, as the Government claims.

Clause 69 empowers the Secretary of State to refuse family reunion visas of nationals where their country of origin is not cooperating with removals. This measure could further undermine this safe and legal route and punishes persecuted people for the actions of their governments.

Refugee Family Reunion is currently the most accessed safe route which allows family members to come safely to the UK to reunite with their sponsor. In the last five years, over 29,000 people have arrived in the UK through existing family reunion routes, 90% of whom were women and children. Restrictions to family reunion rights laid out in the Nationality and Borders bill, will leave families who have been separated by war, violence and persecution facing dangerous journeys in order to be together again.

A number of key amendments and new clauses have been laid by peers which would expand and protect the right to refugee family reunion.