Reunification pathways for integration

Helping families reunite safely in Europe.

When families are forced to flee their homes to find safety, they can become separated for many reasons. That’s why helping with refugee family reunion is a big part of the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s work in many countries.

The Reunification Pathways for Integration (REPAIR) project builds on this by helping separated families to reunite in Europe before, during and after they arrive.

This three-year project is led by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. Working in partnership, it is run by the Austrian, British, French and Slovenian Red Cross, with the support of the International Committee of the Red Cross.

REPAIR is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

A reunited family of two parents and their daughter stand with their arms around each other in front of a UK train station.

How the REPAIR project helps families

National Red Cross Societies in these four countries are scaling up their support by offering a range of services. These include counselling, visa application support, socio-cultural orientation sessions, psychosocial support and language classes.

They also provide integration support to help family members reconnect after a long period of separation.

New partnerships with UK providers of legal services

As part of the REPAIR project, the British Red Cross will expand our refugee family reunion support through partnerships with two legal providers:

In the wake of the new Nationality and Borders Act, which could prevent thousands of women and children from accessing this safe and regular route in the future, the provision of crucial legal advice and integration support to refugees and their loved ones seeking to reunite in the UK makes this project more important than ever.
Alex Fraser, director of refugee support at the British Red Cross

Making family reunion easier

To improve and expand current family reunion services, the project will develop new tools and approaches, and share them with key stakeholders.

This will help improve the process families go through when they reunite, and strengthen the network of agencies that help them in Europe and beyond.

Read one family's story

After Jan was threatened by authorities in his country, he had to leave home quickly. It then took three long years for his family to get back together again. Read their moving story.

An illustration of a man walking through a forest, with the words 'I left without a word' printed behind him

The right to family life must be respected

The Red Cross believes that family life must be respected, regardless of where people come from. Through this project and our other work in restoring family links, we help to prevent separation and disappearance, look for missing persons, restore and maintain contact between family members, and clarify the fate of people reported missing.

Family reunification is one of the safe and legal routes to protection in Europe, yet families face many challenges due to the complex legal framework and practical obstacles. Bringing together beneficiaries of international protection and their relatives often turns into a lengthy and unsafe process.

We call for families to be protected

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement calls for a more holistic, protection-oriented approach that is safe, inclusive and  supports families at every step of the way.

Preparing local authorities and host communities for the arrivals should also be an integral part of the action. 

“Whether from Ukraine, Syria, Afghanistan or Somalia, people who flee violence and persecution often become separated from their family members, which can have devastating consequences on their wellbeing. Without their loved ones, they are not able to resume normal lives. Family reunification is essential to realising the right to family life in Europe and key for long-term integration in receiving communities.
Birgitte Ebbesen, Europe regional director with the International Federation of Red Cross and Crescent Societies

The REPAIR project is co-funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

The flag of the European Union (EU).