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Family reunion for children under threat in case of no deal brexit

A no-deal Brexit could mean that the current system of family reunification could cease to exist. It seems that the Government has briefed the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR and advised them that in the event of us crashing out of the EU without a deal, we will no longer seek to help when it comes to reuniting family members amongst asylum seekers.

What is the family reunification system?

The family reunification system is a process which seeks to reunite asylum seekers who make it to the UK with family members residing in other countries within the EU. The Government has advised the UNHCR and other NGOs that they will ensure they meet their commitments in regard to applications that are already open but that they won’t be accepting any new applications from the 1st November in the case of a no-deal Brexit. What is more, it seems that even if we do manage to secure a deal with the EU prior to us leaving the union that the future for family reunification is not clear.


A spokesperson from the UNHCR has confirmed that the UK pulling out of the Dublin Regulations, which facilitated the reunification process, could be disastrous for families as they seek asylum within the EU. Essentially, it could result in family members having to live their lives separately, in different countries. Some people involved in UK immigration have also spoken about the dangers of not participating in the reunification system in regards to potential fatalities. Many believe that by keeping families separate, it could lead to more people making dangerous sea crossings in a desperate attempt to try and reach their families.

What are lawyers doing?

Many lawyers and campaigners are seeking to get through as many applications as possible so that they can help as many people as they can. They are also calling on the UK and EU to keep communication channels open so that they can ensure that appropriate arrangements are made to fully meet the needs of asylum seekers and refugees. This surely must mean that arrangements should be made to ensure that families can be reunited once they make it to safety.


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