Children and Families Across Borders’s Response to rising numbers of rejected Family Unification applications of unaccompanied minors

2 minutes

Children and Families Across Borders are alarmed by the rising number of refugees seeking to reunite with family in the UK using safe and legal routes who have their applications initially rejected by the Home Office. Data obtained by the Refugee and Migrant Forum of Essex and London show that 66% of applications between 2019-2022 are then overturned on appeal.

We are greatly concerned by the high level of rejections, the, lengthy processing times and bureaucratic barriers which increases safeguarding risks and prolongs the suffering of often traumatised children awaiting reunification with family.

This threatens a child’s right to family as per the UK’s commitment to the UN Convention on the Rights of a Child and further puts them at risk of abuse, trafficking, exploitation, or kidnapping.

In order to assist with this issue, CFAB launched our Family Unification Project in January 2022. We provide Best Interest Assessments to assist with asylum and family unification applications involving minors’ to the Home Office. Despite applications for refugee family reunion decreasing since 2019, demand for our service has remained high. We have supported 59 cases sinch January 2022, of which 22 have been appeals. Find out more here.

Statement from Jill Alindayu – social worker at CFAB

“My first case involving the reunification of 2 Afghan brothers (both under-18) seeking asylum in Greece with their family in the UK has taken over 18 months to close. We know, from our direct experience of working with refugee and asylum-seeking children, that more efficient application reviewing regulations must be enforced to ensure that children and families do not experience further risk and that their right to family is unthreatened.

About Children and Families Across Borders (CFAB)

CFAB is the UK member of the International Social Service (ISS) network, with partners in 130 countries. CFAB is the only Non-Government Organisation (NGO) in the UK set up specifically to deal with child protection cases which involve the UK and one or more other countries. Through our inter-country social work team, we provide guidance and practical support on a range of complex international child protection issues including refugee family reunification. CFAB works with professionals from Local Authorities, the Courts, the police, NGOs and Central Government. In addition to our specialist cross border work, we also provide training to social workers and other professional across the UK and around the world.

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