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Asylum-seeking children in London a year on from the closure of the Calais ‘Jungle’

  • By jourdanwongmuhammad

There are currently 1,540 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the capital – an increase of 75% from 2013.  A year on from the closure of the Calais ‘Jungle’ refugee camp updated figures for 2017 show that there are 4,560 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children across England as a whole.

Councils across the capital continue to provide sanctuary to scores of lone children eligible to come to the UK under the Dubs Amendment.

Between October 2016 and February 2017, when the Home Office stopped bringing children directly from France, boroughs accommodated over 100 new UASC arrivals, as well as helping to reunite more than 40 asylum-seeking children with family in the capital.  

Cllr Claire Kober OBE, chair of London Councils, said:

“London boroughs are honouring a rich history of helping refugees and asylum seekers by resettling unaccompanied asylum-seeking children arriving in England. 

Councils are now responsible for more unaccompanied asylum-seeking children than ever before.  This work is complex and challenging but London boroughs, along with local authorities across the country, are doing all that they can to ensure that these children are safe and looked after.  

London boroughs already support and re-settle many vulnerable children and young people who arrive here, we were instrumental in supporting the transfer of children from France following the closure of the Calais “jungle” last year and have continued to receive and accommodate children who have arrived since then.

The government must consider the ways in which they can better support councils, as well as addressing the ever increasing funding gap in social care, so that refugees and asylum seekers have the support they need to settle into communities and rebuild their lives.”

ENDS

Notes to editors:

  1. Looked after children at 31 March, who were unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) during the year, by local authority, years ending 31 March 2013 to 2017

Region

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

England

1950

2060

2750

4300

4560

London

880

970

1230

1470

1540

Source: Figures are taken from the DfE – ‘Children looked after in England including adoption: 2016 to 2017’ Local authority tables

  1. What is the Dub’s Amendment?

Lord Dubs, who himself was brought to the UK as part of Kinder Transport scheme, tabled an amendment to the now Immigration Act in April 2016 which would have required the government to relocate to the UK a number of refugee children who had reached Europe unaccompanied. His proposed figure of 3,000 was not included in the law.

  1. What is the Dublin III regulation?

It is a piece of EU law that says that families have a right to stay together. This means that refugees have a right to go to and join family members if they are legally in another country, so the family can be with each other.

  1. What does UASC stand for?

An unaccompanied asylum-seeking child (UASC) is a child or young person seeking asylum without the presence of a legal guardian. The definition for immigration purposes of an unaccompanied asylum seeking child is given by the Home Office as ‘a person under 18 years of age or who, in the absence of documentary evidence establishing age, appears to be under that age’ who ‘is applying for asylum in their own right; and is separated from both parents and not being cared for by an adult who by law or custom has responsibility to do so’.