Family Reunion Bill passes its second reading in the House of Lords

July 8, 2022

On Friday 8th July, the Family Reunion Bill passed its second reading the House of Lords. If enacted, the Bill would allow refugee children to sponsor their parents and siblings to join them in safety in the UK. It would also allow adult refugees to sponsor a greater range of family members and reintroduce legal aid for family reunion cases.

The Family Reunion Bill is a Private Member’s Bill sponsored by Baroness Sarah Ludford of the Liberal Democrats. Baroness Ludford set out her reasons for introducing the Bill in Politics Home. She said:

We must do all we can to protect people forced to flee their homes to escape war and persecution, and that includes reuniting them with their families. I have long been calling for the government to expand its restrictive rules on family reunion for refugees. 

But rather than taking action to bring refugee families together, the Home Secretary is restricting family reunion rights further. On 28 June, many of the provisions of the Nationality and Borders Act came into effect, including a new provision that restricts access to family reunion for certain refugees according to how they have travelled to the UK.

The Home Secretary asks us to believe that this is necessary to deter unsafe Channel crossings in small boats. But by restricting family reunion, all she is doing is driving vulnerable women and children into the hands of ruthless people smugglers

Read Baroness Ludford’s full piece on the Politics Home website.