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New policy statement on relocation and support for unaccompanied refugee children

Posted by Ilham Malik on February 08, 2018

On 19/01/18 the Home Office released a policy statement on its progress in implementing section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 which states:

“Unaccompanied refugee children: relocation and support

(1)The Secretary of State must, as soon as possible after the passing of this Act, make arrangements to relocate to the United Kingdom and support a specified number of unaccompanied refugee children from other countries in Europe. 

(2)The number of children to be resettled under subsection (1) shall be determined by the Government in consultation with local authorities.

(3)The relocation of children under subsection (1) shall be in addition to the resettlement of children under the Vulnerable Persons Relocation Scheme.”

In 2016, the UK transferred over 900 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to the UK from Europe. This included over 200 children transferred under the section 67 provision.

Following consultation with local authorities on capacity, the Government announced that the specified number of children to be transferred under section 67, including those already been transferred under the same provision, would be 480.

To be eligible for transfer to the UK under section 67 the unaccompanied child must:

  • have been present in Europe before 18/01/18
  • have had individually determined that it would be in their best interest to be transferred to the UK rather than remain in the host country; transferred to another European country or reunited with family outside Europe.

The Government has invited referrals of eligible children from France, Greece and Italy requesting that they prioritise unaccompanied children who are:

  • likely to be granted refugee status in the UK; and / or
  • the most vulnerable, due to factors which could include but are not limited to child victims of trafficking and sexual abuse; survivors of torture; survivors of violence; and, children with mental or physical disabilities.

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The full policy statement can be read here