Refugee Family Reunion Bill and Unpaid Trial Work Period Bill


Today I am in Parliament to support two important Private Members Bills – the Refugee Family Reunion Bill and Unpaid Trial Work Period Bill.

The Refugee Family Reunion Bill would give unaccompanied refugee children in the UK the right to be reunited with their parents. Current laws mean that many refugees are prevented from being joined by their close family members. These refugees have faced unimaginable trauma and but for many refugees this is worsened by the current rules in the UK that restrict and further keep apart families who have been divided. If it were our families under threat, we would not want the world to look the other way. It is time that British law recognises and protects these family relationships.

The Unpaid Trial Work Period Bill would end the scandal of unpaid trial shifts. Unpaid trials shifts have seen young people work as many as 40 hours for free without any guarantee of employment at the end. It right that if people are going to be offered a trial period where they apply their skills in the hope of securing work then they should be paid fairly and properly. That is why the practice of exploitative, unpaid trial shifts must come to an end.

Private Members Bill are notoriously vulnerable to the limitations of the Parliamentary timetable so there is no guarantee that these Bills will get to a vote, let alone to become law. Even so, I will be in Parliament today to support to these Bills and to back the important changes they would bring.

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Richard Burden

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I was Labour Member of Parliament for Birmingham Northfield between 1992 and 2019 and a former Shadow Transport Minister. I now chair Healthwatch in Birmingham and Solihull, and the West Midlands Board of Remembering Srebrenica. I also work as a public affairs consultant. I am an effective community advocate and stakeholder alliance builder with a passion for human rights. I am a trustee of the Balfour Project charity and of Citizens Advice Birmingham, and a former Chair of Medical Aid for Palestinians.

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