The Home Office have released their updated policy on family reunion for refugees, see here.
Family reunion 'allows a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18 of those granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK to reunite with them here, providing they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country of origin or habitual residence.'
The updated policy now expands the scope of the policy to account for adult children of refugees. Adult children (those aged 18 or over) of refugees will still be refused under the Immigration Rules but the policy now requires:
'The caseworker must go on in every case to consider whether there are exceptional or compassionate circumstances, including the best interests of other children in the family, which warrant a grant of leave to enter or remain outside the Immigration Rules on Article 8 [ECHR] grounds.'
The policy includes references to examples for when the circumstances could be exceptional or compassionate, these include if the applicant:
- 'would be left in a conflict zone or dangerous situation and become destitute on their own';
- 'have no other relatives that they could live with or turn to for support in their country'; or if they
- 'are not leading an independent life and the rest of the family intend to travel to the UK'.
The Red Cross have expressed concern that the change has only been included in the policy and not in the rules. The Red Cross want the government to go further and include the policy in the Immigration Rules.
If you require advice on applying for family reunion in the UK please contact us.