Clause 59 - Processing of visa applications from nationals of certain countries

Part of Nationality and Borders Bill – in a Public Bill Committee am 3:15 pm ar 2 Tachwedd 2021.

Danfonwch hysbysiad imi am ddadleuon fel hyn

I have an important point to make about new clauses 9 and 10, to which I hope the Minister can respond. There is significant concern that these clauses will prevent people from joining refugees in the UK through the family reunion route. Let us consider the countries cited in The Daily Telegraph again: Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Sudan, Eritrea and the Philippines. Since the start of 2019, 8,480 people from Iran, Iraq, Sudan and Eritrea have been granted refugee family reunion visas to join loved ones in the UK. That equates to just over half—53%—of all family visas granted over that period. Some 3,584 of those visas were for children and 5,771 for women or girls. The new clause, as drafted, would potentially apply to visas for refugees coming to the UK under one of the Home Office’s resettlement schemes, including the relocation scheme for Afghan nationals who have previously worked with the UK Government or applicants from Hong Kong for British national overseas visas.

So, if the Government are determined to proceed with these new clauses, at the very least new clause 9 needs to be amended to include an exemption for refugee family reunion and other protection routes. I should be grateful if the Minister would indicate whether the Government are willing to do that.