Many constituents have contacted me over the last few months about reuniting refugees with family members in the UK and I would like to update you on the latest situation.

As you may be aware, the Government's refugee family reunion policy allows immediate family members of a person in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status - that is a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18, who formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country of origin - to reunite with them in the UK. I am very glad that such a scheme exists, which makes sure that family members that have been divided can once again be reunited.

I appreciate calls for the Government to expand the scheme. However, as I understand it, there are no plans to widen the criteria. The criteria are fully compliant with the UK's international obligations, and enable thousands of people each year to be reunited with their families in the UK. Three discretionary resettlement schemes are also in place for recognised refugees for whom resettlement is the most appropriate answer. These schemes are operated in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and are: Gateway; Mandate; and the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation scheme.

The Government is continuing to work with key EU Member States to ensure the family reunification process works effectively. The UK and France have committed to ensuring that the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation are used efficiently and effectively. To assist the handling of such cases, the two Governments have established a permanent official contact group, agreed single points of contact within respective Dublin Units, and the UK has seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to facilitate the improvement of all stages of the process. The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which inform unaccompanied children and others of their right to claim asylum in France and of the family reunion process.

The Government is also providing support to the Dublin Units in Greece and Italy bilaterally and through the European Asylum Support Office.

It is important to note that the Government is also making a significant contribution to support refugees and their families in other ways. The UK has contributed over £2.3 billion in humanitarian aid in response to the Syrian crisis, and we intend to resettle 20,000 Syrian refugees displaced to neighbouring countries over the lifetime of this Parliament. These refugees will come straight from the refugee camps in the Middle East to discourage others from taking the perilous journey across the Mediterranean.