Thank you for writing to me about creating safe and legal routes for refugees and asylum seekers. I have read your email carefully and have noted your concerns about the ongoing situation.
Like you, I was deeply saddened by the very recent loss of life in the Channel after a boat carrying migrants sank near Dunkirk and my thoughts at this terrible time are with the loved ones of those who died.
I can assure you that the Government’s primary concern during the recent Channel crossings has been for the safety of those making this perilous journey in dinghies and other unseaworthy small crafts across one of the busiest shipping routes in the world. The National Crime Agency, Border Force and the Police have been working closely with the French authorities to stop these dangerous crossings and to try to save the lives of these migrants who are being so cruelly misled by criminal gangs and people smugglers.
I am pleased that the UK Government already provides safe and legal routes for people needing protection or seeking to reunite with their families. In the year ending June 2020, over 6,320 refugee family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK. The UK also continues to be one of the largest refugee resettlement states in the world, resettling around 25,000 refugees and issuing over 29,000 family reunion visas since 2015.
You will also be pleased to hear that the Government has announced it will conduct a review of safe and legal routes to the UK for asylum seekers, refugees and their families where they will publicly consult on legal routes including on family reunion for unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
In recent months I wrote to the Home Secretary, Priti Patel MP, for clarification on the ongoing situation and I will continue to monitor any further developments closely and raise your concerns whenever appropriate. Above all, I am pleased that the Government is developing a new balanced and fair asylum system, one that will provide protection to the most vulnerable people who need our help.
With best wishes and thank you again for taking the time to contact me about this important matter.
Jonathan Lord MP
Member of Parliament for Woking