I am supportive of the current family reunion policy which meets our international obligations. It is important to avoid creating perverse incentives for children to be encouraged, or even forced to leave their families and risk dangerous journeys in the hope that relatives can join them later. More generous rules may also put children at greater risk of trafficking.
The Government is listening carefully to calls to allow extended family members to qualify and is reviewing its approach to family reunion as part of the Government's wider asylum and resettlement strategy. However, expanding the policy without careful thought could risk more people being put in harms' way. Changes in policy do impact on asylum seekers' choices to secondary movements. In 2015, Germany saw its asylum intake increase by 155 per cent.
Investment has been made in supporting the most vulnerable refugees through resettlement programmes, which offer safe and legal routes to protection and are designed to keep families together. By 2020, 20,000 refugees from Syria will have been resettled, around half of which have already arrived. Since 2010 over 24,000 family reunion visas have been issued, and since 2010 over 49,000 people have been provided with protection status in the UK, and they are entitled to apply for their qualifying members to join them.
I am proud of the UK’s impressive record of giving humanitarian aid to Syria and to refugees from Syria: £2.46 billion has been committed since 2012, our largest ever response to a humanitarian crisis. £3.6 million has been committed to enable the strengthening of co-operation with France on the operation of the Dublin regulation and the development fund, and to work with the French to identify projects that support genuine claims through the Dublin process. In 2016 the UK settled more refugees from outside Europe than any other EU state. According to Eurostat figures, over a third of people resettled in the EU came to the UK.