New report reveals Catch 22 for families

Mother with child c. Jenny Wicks

Asylum-seeking families who don’t arrive in the UK together are being forced to choose between destitution or living apart, finds our new research.

The research report, Maintaining Family Unity throughout the Asylum Support System in Policy and Practice, shows that many asylum seeking families who do not arrive in the UK have two choices: staying with their children but receiving no support from UK Border Agency (UKBA), or living separately but receiving support.

Proof of family life  

UKBA regulations state asylum seekers who are not married, or have not brought their marriage certificate to the UK with them, must prove that they have been cohabiting for two out of the last three years in order to live together and receive support as a family unit.

This can be especially difficult to prove for those who have been separated whilst attempting to flee war, conflict or persecution.

Simon Hodgson, our Director of Policy and Communications, says, “Families who have been split up through no fault of their own while escaping their countries of origin are doubly punished when they arrive in the UK.

“This Catch 22 situation is not only extremely distressing for families, but also contravenes their human right to a family life. It punishes children by preventing them from living with both parents, which is a violation of UK Border Agency’s obligation to put the best interests of the child first.”

Read more reports in our research section.