Our vision is for the UK to be a country which welcomes refugees, takes greater responsibility for hosting refugees, and supports them to rebuild their lives here. One stepping stone for realising this ambition is for the UK government to allow more refugee families to be reunited in the UK, without the need to make dangerous, often life-threatening journeys. Current family reunion rules are too restrictive and force refugee families to live permanently apart.
The Families Together coalition started in 2017 when a small group of organisations led by Amnesty International, British Red Cross, Oxfam, Refugee Council and UNHCR joined forces.
Through our in-depth research we have exposed the real life experience of refugee children living alone in the UK and our award winning public campaigning and videos have reached millions of people across the country.
In 2018, we worked with Angus MacNeil MP (SNP) on a Private Member’s Bill in the House of Commons and through our successful campaigning it secured its second reading on 16 March 2018. Throughout the political turmoil of 2019 we targeted successive Home Secretaries, delivering a petition of more than 75,000 signatures on 5 February 2020.
Throughout 2021 the coalition campaigned hard against the government’s Nationality and Borders Bill as it made its way through parliament. The Bill sought to restrict access to family reunion depending on how a refugee has arrived in the UK. We successfully tabled 3 amendments in the House of Commons and again in the House of Lords, but sadly none of these amendments were accepted and the Bill became law.
In 2022 the coalition achieved a major success. The government changed the rules to allow refugees to sponsor their adult children, where those children still depend on their parents. We have been campaigning for this change since 2017. Tens of thousands of people across the UK signed petitions and wrote to their MPs. Refugees affected by the cruel policy spoke in parliament and shared their stories in the media. And finally, the government listened.
This success shows that our coalition can bring families together. The coalition is campaigning tirelessly to change the UK’s unfair rules and reunite families.
Our coalition has grown to more than 100 members. Many of our organisations provide frontline services for refugees. Their support for an expansion of refugee family reunion is based on their first-hand experiences of the current rules.
There is still a lot more to do, and the more of us who work to bring refugee families together, to safety in the UK, the better.
Would you like to join the coalition?
To find out more about the campaign or to join the coalition, please email firstname.lastname@example.org