A Manchester law firm is offering free legal services to a refugee employment charity in a bid to help immigrants and asylum seekers reunite with their families for Christmas.
Barings Law has teamed up with Breaking Barriers to provide pro bono support to those who have often fled war, persecution and violence abroad in order to be with their loved ones in the UK.
The team of legal practitioners has been assisting refugees referred by the charity with various legal documents and processing applications.
Breaking Barriers helps refugees into meaningful employment with advice, experience and education.
Since the charity started in 2015, it has supported more than 2,300 refugees and secured 1,905 employment, education and volunteering outcomes for the clients they support.
Since the partnership began, Barings Law has received up to three cases a week with many resulting in successful settlements, including helping one man to reunite with his wife in the UK.
Immigration adviser at the firm, Jamila Nelson, has been providing help and advice to those referred by Breaking Barriers.
She said: “Sometimes all the refugees need is reassurance, to know that they’ve been heard and that they will be helped.
“It is very important to remain humane, help and make sure people know we are here to help.
“Because of strict requirements in family reunion cases, a lot of clients have difficulties accessing help and bringing their loved ones into the country for a safer and better future as applications can only be made for immediate family members.
“At Barings Law we help every step of the way, from initially getting in contact and doing research to referring asylum seekers to organisations and following up afterwards.
“Our goal is to help as many families as we can.”
According to Breaking Barriers, over 70,000 people claimed asylum in the UK last year.
From June 2022 to May of this year, the charity helped over 1,100 refugees which is more than in any previous year and hopes to increase the number to 4,000 refugees a year by 2030.
Reem Othman, Senior Employment and Integration Adviser at Breaking Barriers said: “In light of the pressure on legal aid services for refugees and people seeking asylum, having a law firm willing to offer their team’s expertise pro bono, was a great relief.
“It eases a lot of the pressure on our advisers knowing that we have a reliable team of qualified law practitioners who can respond to our clients’ queries and requests within days, even hours.
“Our charity exists so every refugee in the UK can build a new life.
“We are proud of our partnership with Barings Law. Their legal expertise perfectly complements the specialised employment support that we offer, so that refugees can find and build a new life in the UK.
“We know that the power of businesses to change lives is limitless. We hope that our work with Barings Law inspires other legal firms, or businesses in any sector, to get involved too.”
As the charity helps people from all over the world, Barings Law also assists with translation services to ensure every refugee receives the needed help.
Mrs Nelson added: “It’s incredibly fulfilling to know that we’re making a meaningful impact on these individuals’ journeys to a better life in the UK. Breaking Barriers performs remarkable work, and it’s an honour to collaborate with them.
“I take pride in the progressive values of Barings Law, recognising that our commitment to social welfare is fundamental to our mission.
“This initiative reflects our ongoing commitment to fostering positive change and making a lasting impact on the lives of those who need it most.”