Want to know more about Refugee Family Reunion?
Newcastle Law Centre offers free legal advice and representation around Refugee Family Reunion to clients in North East via our North East Refugee Law Project.
Some of this work was featured on Inside Out North East on Monday 19th October at 7.30pm on BBC One North East and Cumbria.
We have created this page on our website for people who want to know more about Refugee Family Reunion. It also includes information about how you can help Newcastle Law Centre and how you can support other refugees in the North East.
You can also read Clare's blog about the case in our news section
What is Refugee Family Reunion?
When an asylum seeker who has fled to the UK has been granted refugee status, this is not the end of their story, but just the beginning.
Once someone’s own safety has been secured, their first thought is often how to reunite with their family members. This process is called family reunion and is usually restricted to husbands/wives and children under the age of 18.
There are two routes to family reunion: Pre and Post Flight. In most cases, the family will have existed before coming to the UK (classed as pre-flight) and the person making the application will have to apply for a visa in this category. The requirements for a pre-flight visa are similar to those for someone applying for a visa under the normal family immigration rules, but with some key differences
- The person with refugee status in the UK does not have to be settled; (in other words, they don’t need to have a permanent right to stay in the UK)
- There are no maintenance and accommodation requirements; (in other words, the person with refugee status does not need to show they have the financial resources to support and house their family members)
- The relationship must have existed before the person who has been granted asylum or humanitarian protection left the country of their former habitual residence in order to seek asylum or humanitarian protection; and
- The applicant would not fall under the refugee law exclusion clauses (in other words, the rules which classify certain groups of people as ineligible for refugee status).
If the person who has been granted refugee status in the UK marries after the date they fled their country of origin, or after having been granted refugee status, then any application for family reunion would be under the post flight rules. The post flight rules are in line with the normal family immigration rules where an applicant must show that they can financially support and house their family members, and where the family members seeking to come to the UK must show they can speak English. Due to the financial and English language requirement, the post flight visa rules are more difficult to satisfy, and it is harder for refugees in this situation to gain reunion with their loved ones.
Legal Aid is not available for people wishing to make applications for Refugee Family Reunion, unless there are exceptional circumstances.
Newcastle Law Centre can help refugees based in the North East with these applications via the North East Refugee Law Project. This service is funded by charitable funds and is in high demand.
How can I support the North East Refugee Law Project?
The North East Refugee Law Project is funded by charitable funds from The Northern Rock Foundation and the Future Advice Providers Fund. This funding comes to an end in May 2016. Please help us to continue our work by donating online or via paypal.
- £5 pays for us to photocopy a bundle
- £10 pays for a Data Protection Request for a client
- £30 pays for 1 hour of an interpreter
- £50 pays for a standard translation
- £100 pays for us to attend an outreach clinic and help clients
- £250 pays for us to attend tribunal for one day
- £350 pays for a refugee family reunion application for one person
Please donate if you can. You can contact Michael Fawole for more information about donating
How can I support refugees across the North East?
There are many organisations working with refugees in the North East.
In Newcastle, the City Council have produced this information about support for refugees.
The City of Sanctuary movement is about about creating opportunities for positive relationships between local people and those seeking sanctuary.