Barbara Keeley MP

LABOUR MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT FOR WORSLEY AND ECCLES SOUTH

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Oxfam's 'Unite Refugee Families' Campaign

It has been clear for some time that more is needed to be done to reunite refugees with their families. Concerns have been raised with me about family reunion rules and the effectiveness of their implementation for refugees and their families.

A number of charities and organisations have launched campaigns to relax and clarify the regulations. In particular, Oxfam has raised concerns about the efficiency of the processes in place for those who are entitled to join family in the UK. I share these concerns.

The impact of these complicated regulations is that children are let down badly. Unaccompanied migrant children are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse. It is time for Conservative Home Office Ministers to make genuine efforts to resolve this matter.

A number of attempts have been made to review the rules around family reunification for refugees, including options for extending the criteria for family reunion, during the passage of the Immigration Act 2016 in the last Parliament. It is disappointing that the Conservative Government rejected these proposals and reiterated that it has no plans to extend the family reunion criteria.

Labour's manifesto at the recent General Election promised to produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis, and I hope this is something that Conservative Ministers will now consider. I believe we need effective action to alleviate the refugee crisis and continue to uphold the proud British tradition of honouring the spirit of international law and our moral obligations by taking our fair share of refugees.

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