Unaccompanied child refugees are found all over Europe, but certain regions have higher concentrations of vulnerable minors. The Safe Passage head office is based in London but we also have established presence in France, Italy, Greece and a small but growing team in Brussels
Arrivals in Greece have declined substantially from their peak of 900,000 in 2016 to 190,000 in 2017. However, exit routes from Greece are now largely blocked even for children eligible for family reunification in other European countries, state provision is extremely weak, and an ever greater proportion of those arriving are unaccompanied minors. While there are a few NGOs that provide legal advice, they lack capacity and destination country partners to address the problem, and the Greek Government’s Dublin unit is overwhelmed and understaffed.
In December 2017, Safe Passage helped with the first ever transfers of children from Greece to the UK under the Dubs scheme. For a long time, the narrow guidance of the Dubs Amendment disqualified many unaccompanied minors in Greece from being brought over to the UK. We are hoping that the scheme will be put into force more effectively as the cut-off date of the 20th March 2016 was recently brought forward to the 18th January 2018, making more children eligible for transfer.