The UK maintains its reputation as a world leader in refugee resettlement. We resettle more refugees than any other European country and are in the top five globally. Over 25,000 vulnerable refugees in need of protection through our refugee resettlement schemes have been resettled since 2015, half whom have been children.
I believe that more needs to be done in this area. In the year ending March 2020, more than 7,400 refugee family reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK. This stands as a 37 per cent rise from last year.
I welcome the fact that the Government provides a safe and legal route to bring families together through its refugee family reunion policy. This allows a partner and children under the age of 18 of those granted protection in the UK to join them here, if they formed part of the family unit before the sponsor left their country. Over 29,000 family reunion visas have been issued in the last five years as part of this policy.
I believe that when it is safe to do so the UK should recommence refugee resettlement. I welcome the news that the Home Office is currently evaluating how to respond and continues to consult with international and domestic stakeholders on this matter. It is important that we do not rush plans to restart resettlement as this is dependent on a number of factors. These factors include the lifting of restrictions imposed by the governments of host refugee countries, local authority and central government capacity and the overall recovery of the asylum system from the effects of Coronavirus. It is welcome news that the Government is taking action but I will continue to push Ministers to restart resettlement as soon as it is safe and viable to do so.