The House of Lords has voted 317 to 223 in favour of safeguarding existing routes to family reunion once the transition period ends on December 31 2020.
Members of the House of Lords voted on an amendment to the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Bill that would keep the family reunion routes that allow people who have applied for asylum in an EU country to be reunited with family members in the UK.
Hundreds of people are currently able to join family members in the UK through the Dublin III Regulation, and the British Red Cross has been asking for steps to be taken to ensure that these routes are not lost.
The Bill will return to be debated by MPs in the House of Commons in the coming weeks, at which point they will have the opportunity to accept the amendment passed by the House of Lords.
In response, Naomi Phillips, director of policy and advocacy at British Red Cross, said: ‘The home secretary spoke at conference about the importance of safe and legal routes for people claiming asylum in this country.
‘The Dublin System is one of these routes, providing a safe way for separated families to be together again in peace.
‘The vote today to protect refugee family reunion rules is very welcome, and we are asking the Government to uphold this. Without this, families will face an impossible choice. Either stay separated by borders and seas, or risk their lives to reach their loved ones in the UK.
‘Hundreds of people have been brought safely to the UK to be reunited with their family members again thanks to the Dublin System.
‘Just last week the government reported that 28 people from Greece, including a number of unaccompanied children, were able to be with their loved ones through this route.
‘Through our family reunion work, we see the pure joy and relief when families are back together after months, if not years, apart.’
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