For immediate release on 20 December 2018
Today the Home office announced that the cut-off date for the ‘Dubs scheme’ will be removed following campaigning by charity Safe Passage.
The cut- off date under the ‘Dubs scheme’ had previously meant that unaccompanied children arriving in Europe after the 18th January 2018 would not be eligible to qualify under the scheme that aims to resettle 480 of the most vulnerable children from Europe. Since the amendment was passed in Parliament three years ago, just 220 children have been brought to the UK. The announcement today from the Government follows sustained campaigning by child refugees charity Safe Passage who previously warned that the arbitrary date was preventing Britain from filling the remaining places and ruled out some of the most vulnerable children in Europe from qualifying under the scheme.
Beth Gardiner-Smith, CEO of Safe Passage said: “We’re pleased the Government has listened to the voices of campaigners and organisations on the ground working with these children. This important change will mean hundreds more of the most vulnerable child refugees in Europe can be granted protection under the scheme.
“The priority now must be to bring these children to Britain as soon as possible and ensure they can finally gain the support they need to re-build their lives.” Information from Refugee Youth Service in Calais has revealed that in Northern France alone 200 at-risk unaccompanied children could now be accepted under the amendment. Of these, at least 45 children are believed to be under the age of 15.
Lord Alf Dubs said:
“Now the cut-off date has been lifted, more child refugees in Europe will have the chance to come to this country and start rebuilding their lives instead of languishing in camps, shelters or even on the streets.
“Across this UK, politicians and members of the public are signing up to show their support for child refugees. We have the capacity to do more, and this small change could be a lifeline to hundreds of incredibly vulnerable children.
“I hope that the Home Office and local authorities can act quickly to fill the places available under this scheme, and I look forward to continuing to work with the government to give more child refugees safe passage.”
There are currently an estimated 30 children in Northern France and 25 children in Greece known to have been approved for protection under the Dubs scheme who have been waiting more than 2 months to be transferred.
Information from Refugee Youth Service in Calais has revealed that in Northern France alone 200 at-risk unaccompanied children could now be accepted under the amendment. Of these, at least 45 children are believed to be under the age of 15.
M, a child who was transferred to the UK under the Dubs amendment says: “When I was in Calais every day I cried and felt alone because I was waiting so long. Every month someone left and we said goodbye. If you’re left on your own people get so stressed and some want to kill themselves”
“The young people cannot wait a long time- they get very stressed with being told every day to wait and wait. They want to start their life…. Some try to get to the UK from Calais and the police come with tear gas and take their tents. They get hurt trying to go on the lorries.”