REFUGEE FAMILY REUNION BILL
We believe that families should be together – but we need to act now.
The UK’s restrictive laws on refugee family reunion are keeping families, who have fled war and persecution, apart.
Adult refugees are only allowed to sponsor their partners, or children under 18, to join them. They cannot bring elderly relatives to live with them in safety, nor can they reunite with their 19 or 20 year old children. What’s more, refugee children already in the UK have no right to sponsor their family members’ safe passage, and are therefore forced to live apart from their parents.
We have an opportunity to change these rules – but to do so, but we all need to act together now.
On the 16th of March, the Refugee Family Reunion Bill will be debated in Parliament. With the support of Angus Maeil MP and the #FamiliesTogether coalition, the Bill calls for:
– Child refugees in the UK to have the right to sponsor their close family members’ safe passage;
– An expansion of who qualifies as a family, so that young people who have turned 18 and elderly parents can live in safety with their family members in the UK; and
– The reintroduction of legal aid for family reunion cases, so that refugees have the support they need to navigate the complicated process of being reunited with their families.
These new rules would stop children in the UK having to grow up alone, without their family; they would grant safe passage to young people and the elderly who are currently stranded in camps and war zones.
We need at least 100 MPs to attend and vote to allow refugees in the UK to be joined by their families – let’s all make sure that our MP is one of them.
- Write to your MP. If you don’t have time to see your MP, why not send them a letter? You can use our template here – but do try to personalise it, so that the MP knows why this matters to you. Make sure to include your address and phone number, and ask them to let you know whether they will attend.
- Talk to your MP. The most effective way of lobbying your MP is talking to them – arrange to see them (just call their office!), explain to them what is happening on 16th March, and tell them why you want them to turn up and vote. Make sure you read our info sheet to help you prepare. Don’t worry though – your MP won’t expect to you to be an expert. They just want to know why you care.
- Organise a family photo stunt, community event or information session – and post about it on social media. Amnesty’s campaign toolkit, available here, has photo pledge boards, cut-out letters, and more – all to help you organise a brilliant action. You can also see some examples of successful events here, if you’re in need of inspiration!
Make sure your MP knows that you want them to attend. This is a simple action that you, and they, can take, and it will transform the lives of those who have been torn apart from the people they love. If you have any further questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and she’ll be happy to help.
We are all strongest when together – so let’s make our collective voice heard, and help reunite refugee families.