Today [13 September] the Home Office announced that all children reunited with family during the Calais ‘Jungle’ camp demolition process will be granted leave to remain in the UK for 10 years and none will face the risk of deportation at age 18.
Beth Gardiner-Smith, Interim Project Lead at Safe Passage, said:
“The children who were brought to the UK from Calais survived incredibly traumatic conflict experiences, perilous journeys to Europe and the risk of violence and abuse in the camps.
“Safe Passage have consistently called on the government to help these children find stability and begin rebuilding their lives by granting them secure status in the UK.
“Whilst we welcome today’s announcement, we are extremely concerned that it has been limited to children brought to the UK as part of the Calais camp clearances. It’s arbitrary and unfair for children who were in Calais just months before and travelled through the family reunion route to face deportation whilst those there at time of demolition have this guarantee.
“In addition, as the Home Office Minister Caroline Nokes points out in her own statement, a large proportion of the children who arrived from Calais have already been recognised as refugees, giving them the legal right to apply to remain in the UK permanently after five years. Today’s announcement would lead to children having to wait twice as long to apply for indefinite leave to remain.
“Regardless of how they arrive, vulnerable children that claim asylum in the UK should all be able to access a fair, consistent and human legal system that offers them long term safety and security.”