This inspection examined the Home Office’s management of family reunion applications between 1 January 2022 and 30 September 2022, focusing on progress relating to implementation of recommendations two, three and four from ICIBI’s ‘An inspection of family reunion applications (June – December 2019)’.
I welcome the publication of my reinspection report of family reunion applications. The family reunion immigration route allows close relatives of an individual who has been recognised as a refugee in the UK to obtain permission to join their family member in this country. This report follows, and builds upon, four previous inspections of this area carried out by my predecessor.
Sadly, my inspection team found that rather than building on the recommendations resulting from ICIBI’s last inspection in 2019, the Home Office’s performance has actually deteriorated. This inspection reveals a system beset with delays and a team ill-equipped to manage the complexity and volume of applications awaiting consideration. The result has been unacceptable waiting times for applicants.
The backlog of undecided applications stood at almost 8,000 at the time of this inspection, with applicants consistently waiting over double the 60-working-day service standard for a decision. There was no evidence of any prioritisation of these based on vulnerability; applications sat in a pile and would only be expedited as a result of MP correspondence, threat of litigation or sheer luck. Only then was any assessment of vulnerability made by a decision maker. This is unacceptable.
180 organisations have signed an open letter to leaders of all parties in response to the attack on Friday 10th February on a hotel in Knowsley where asylum seekers are housed. The letter calls on party leaders to ‘take a clear stand and condemn any further violence against those who come here to find safety’.
Coordinated by Together With Refugees, you can read the letter and full list of signatories below:
Dear Party Leaders
The scenes of hatred and violence against people seeking asylum on Friday were horrifying. We stand in solidarity with them and with all those who have come to the UK to find protection. These awful acts do not represent the people of Knowsley.
Dubs, who fled what was then Czechoslovakia unaccompanied in 1939 and came to the UK aged six as part of the Kindertransport system, condemned the home secretary for using language that painted those also fleeing persecution as “hostile people”.
Dubs’ comments, made in a new podcast series presented by the Lord Speaker, John McFall, follow criticism of Braverman by another survivor of the Holocaust last month.
In comments made in October, shortly after she was reappointed by Rishi Sunak, Braverman said in the Commons that refugees and migrants crossing the Channel in small boats were “the invasion on our southern coast”.