A number of organisations have called for there to be an expansion of the criteria used to determine refugee family reunions.
More does need to be done to reunite families, and I am concerned about the time it takes for those who are entitled to join family in the UK, particularly children, to be reunited. Unaccompanied migrant children are highly vulnerable to trafficking, sexual exploitation and other forms of abuse.
Last year, the government rejected options for extending the criteria for family reunion made during the passage of the Immigration Act 2016. It reiterated that it had no plans to extend the family reunion criteria.
The manifesto I stood on at the recent General Election promised to produce a cross-departmental strategy to meet our international obligations on the refugee crisis. 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 tgiving refuge to those who need it.
I know that the Scottish National Party MP Angus MacNeil has stated that he will bring forward a private members Bill to address many of these issues. The Bill has not yet been published, but I can assure you that I will consider it when it is.
In the meantime, the government should act to make the existing processes work more effectively for those entitled to be here so that every family can be reunited.