Policy and legal background
2 Section 3(2) of the Immigration Act 1971 provides for the Secretary of State to lay before Parliament statements of the rules (the "Immigration Rules"), or of any changes in the rules, with respect to the practice to be followed in the administration of the 1971 Act.
3 Part 11 of the Immigration Rules set out the eligibility for refugee family reunion. Currently, adult refugees in the United Kingdom can apply to sponsor their spouses/partners and their children under the age of 18 to join them. There is no application fee to be paid, although families are required to arrange their own travel if successful. According to Home Office statistics 7,439 refugee family reunion applications were made between October 2016 and September 2017. Over that same time 8,041 decisions on family reunion applications were made, with 5,197 granted (65%). 1
4 The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 sets out the services that are in scope for civil legal aid in England and Wales. Whereas previously legal aid had been available for refugee family reunion application, the 2012 Act, which came into force in April 2013, did not include such a provision. Legal aid, which is a devolved matter, is currently available for refugee family reunion applications in Scotland and Northern Ireland.