Scottish Liberal Democrat MP Alistair Carmichael will today call for the urgent overhaul of cruel and inhumane family reunion rules for refugees.
Speaking ahead of a Westminster debate he has secured on the family reunion rules, Mr Carmichael said that the current rules are keeping loved ones apart and forcing children to live separated from their parents.
Under the current system, adult refugees in the UK can apply to sponsor their partner and dependent children who are under the age of 18. If the application is successful—and nearly half of the time they are not—then their family members can travel to the UK to join them.
Elderly parents, nephews, nieces, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles and older children are all excluded.
Commenting, Mr Carmichael said:
“People fleeing war and persecution are forced through a lengthy bureaucratic asylum process before being granted refugee status. Imagine going through this all and then realising that there is no way for you to bring your children to safety with you.
“As the parent of a young man who is in his first year of university I cannot imagine how that would feel.
“This is exactly what the current refugee family reunion system operated by the UK Government is doing. Just when family members need each other the most, they are kept apart, divided by a few lines in the Home Office’s rule book.
“The rules also prevent refugee children, alone in the UK, from acting as sponsors so that their parents can join them. These are children with refugee status, who have been found by the UK Government to be unable to return home because they would not be safe, who are then denied the opportunity to live with their parents.
“The Government’s rules are keeping loved ones apart and forcing refugee children to live separated from their parents. This is cruel and inhumane and the Government needs to look at these rules again urgently.”