Home UK Immigration Child Refugees With No Family In UK Will No Longer Be Given Sanctuary

Child Refugees With No Family In UK Will No Longer Be Given Sanctuary

by admin


Unaccompanied child refugees who do not have family in the UK will no longer be given sanctuary, the government has said.

In 2016, David Cameron’s government amended the Dublin Regulation, making it a legal requirement for ministers to grant asylum to children arriving in the UK.

Chris Philp, the minister for Immigration Compliance, said protecting vulnerable children is a ‘key priority’ and that the Home Office takes its responsibility for the welfare of children ‘very seriously’, however, it was no longer bound to give them asylum.

The comments come in response to Labour MP Alex Sobel, who asked what steps the UK is taking to help relocate unaccompanied children in the refugee camps on the Aegean Islands.

‘The Home Office takes its responsibility for the welfare of children very seriously. However, responsibility for asylum seekers and refugees in EU Member States lies with the authorities of the safe EU country in which they are present in accordance with their international obligations,’ Philp explained.

He said only those with family members in the UK could be eligible for protection, as they could enter the UK through existing immigration rules.

‘The United Kingdom is no longer bound by the Dublin Regulation. Our existing immigration rules enable unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in Europe, among others, with family members in the UK to apply to join eligible sponsors such as those with refugee or humanitarian protection leave, or with British or settled status,’ he added.

The Dublin Regulation initially sought to offer 3,000 child refugees settlement in the UK, but it was later capped at 480 places. This quota had been filled as of May last year.

Philp said there are currently 5,000 unaccompanied children being cared for in England alone.

‘This has placed significant pressure on local authorities and it is important that we focus on ensuring that we can care for those who are already here before we agree to taking more children,’ he said.

‘The government is prioritising resettling vulnerable refugees direct from dangerous conflict zones rather than those who have often paid people smugglers to reach other safe European countries. Our most recent figures indicate that the UK is currently looking after more unaccompanied asylum-seeking children than any other European country, including Greece,’ he added.

Priti Patel
Philp’s claims that local authorities are struggling to cope have been disputed by charity Safe Passage, which told The Independent that 25 councils in the UK have pledged more than 1,400 places for child refugees in Europe.

Lord Alf Dubs, who campaigned for the amendment in 2016, urged Home Secretary Priti Patel to rapidly organise the transfer of unaccompanied children to safety in the UK after a fire broke out at a refugee camp in Lesvos in 2020.

‘The issue of safe and legal route for child refugees has always had cross-party support and after this horrendous fire, the government cannot keep dodging the issue by insisting that children are safe in Europe and don’t need sanctuary here,’ he said.

He added, ‘This tragedy shows beyond doubt that children are not safe, and the UK must step up and offer some sanctuary. Whether in a camp on the Greek island, or in northern France, children are at extreme risk and need our help now. Failing to act would be an outrage.’

Source: https://www.unilad.co.uk/news/child-refugees-with-no-family-in-uk-will-no-longer-be-given-sanctuary/

Related Articles