Green Party votes to support family reunification and voting rights for migrants

Green Party members are currently meeting for their spring conference in Birming

Green Party campaigners holding a Green Party banner in Bristol

Members of the Green Party of England and Wales have voted to extend family reunification rights to all migrants as part of a raft of new measures included in its new migration policy. The vote took place at the party’s spring conference in Birmingham.

As part of the new policy, the Greens now support the right for visa residents to bring members of their family to the UK who would normally live with them in their country of origin, or would do so if it were permitted by law or custom.

Under the Ukraine Family Scheme, Ukrainians are able to join family who are already settled in the UK. The Greens now want to extend this to all visa residents.

Benali Hamdache, the Green Party’s migration spokesperson, said: “The war in Ukraine showed the huge generosity of many Brits. We opened our homes and welcomed refugees to this country. Campaigners successfully lobbied the government so that people with the right to live here could sponsor extended family members to escape Ukraine.

“But countless other citizens of other nationalities don’t have these rights. Despite the deep historical ties we may share with those countries. Sponsoring a grandparent or a sibling is all but impossible for British Afghans, Yemenis, Turks, Kurds and countless other countries. Despite the conflict and disaster many places are facing right now

“The Green Party would expand the right to family reunification. Allowing grandparents and siblings to join family here. Keeping families apart is immoral, as is treating any nationality differently from another.” 

The Greens’ updated migration policy would also provide visa residents with the right to vote in all elections and referendums.

Hamdache said: “Too many people live, work and study here but don’t get a say on how we’re governed. Our current rules on voting rights just don’t make sense. Someone can be an EU citizen who has settled here for 10 years and not get a vote, but a newly arrived Commonwealth citizen does get a vote. A fair and just system would give anyone with the right to live in the UK the right to vote. That’s how we build a truly inclusive and welcoming society.”

Chris Jarvis is Head of Strategy and Development at Left Foot Forward

This article was jointly published with Bright Green.

Image credit: Matthew Philip Long – Creative Commons

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