Prior to the end of the Brexit transition period on 31 December 2020, the UK was subject to Regulation (EU) No. 604/2013 (the “Dublin III Regulation”) which determined which participating EU member state was responsible for examining applications made by asylum seekers. The Regulation allows for the transfer of asylum seekers from the UK to another EU member state, or vice versa, for the purposes of having their asylum claim considered in the receiving state. In some instances, the state responsible for examining an asylum claim will be the state in which the asylum seeker has separated family members or relatives with whom they are seeking to reunite.
However, the UK ceased to be bound by the Dublin III Regulation as of 23:00 GMT on 31 December 2020. This means that the Secretary of State for the Home Department (“SSHD”) is no longer able to arrange the transfer of asylum seekers from or to the UK, including those who wish to reunite with family members. Only family reunion applications submitted in the UK prior to Brexit will be considered under separate legislation, namely, the Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019.
Instead, asylum seekers who may have previously been eligible to transfer to the UK for family reunion purposes under the Dublin III Regulation may now seek to do so only under existing routes within the UK Immigration Rules (“the Rules”).
At present, family reunion may be facilitated through:
- Applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK as the partner or child of a person who has refugee status or a grant of humanitarian protection;
- Applications for leave to enter or remain in the UK as the child of a non-parent adult relative with refugee status or a grant of humanitarian protection;
- Applications for indefinite leave to enter the UK as the child of a parent, parents or non-parent adult relative who are present and settled in the UK or applying for settlement;
- Applications on the basis of private and family life with a British citizen, a person settled in the UK, or a person with limited leave to remain as a refugee or a grant of humanitarian protection; and
- Applications for leave outside the Rules (in exceptional circumstances).
The type of application that could be made will vary depending on the individual circumstances of each case.
Notwithstanding the above, there remains a duty on the SSHD to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in the UK in accordance with section 55 of the Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act 2009. The effect of this legislation is that the consideration of a child’s best interests remains a primary consideration in immigration cases.
If you require further information or wish to discuss a potential application for family reunion in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Solicitor in our corporate and complex case teams