The Government has won an appeal against a ruling which allowed four Syrian young people to travel to the UK to join their relatives.
Under EU law, adult and child asylum seekers who have been separated from their loved ones have the right to re-join them while they are having their asylum claims examined.
Normally, this means that the person first claims asylum in the country they are in before requesting that their claim be transferred to the country where their relatives live.
Earlier this year, lawyers successfully argued that it wasn’t possible for four Syrian teenagers who were living in the Jungle to follow this procedure to the letter because it would mean they would be trapped living in unacceptable conditions. Psychiatric reports backed up the lawyers’ case and outlined the harrowing effects an extended stay in the so called ‘Jungle’ could have on the youngsters.
However, the Home Office appealed the original ruling as it believed that the system of transferring asylum claims between countries has improved.
In today’s ruling, the court upheld the Government’s argument. The judgment states that people seeking to reunite with their relatives should follow the normal steps outlined in the Dublin Regulation.
However, the court also said that in ‘compelling cases’, if this system could be shown not to be working, then people could still potentially bypass it and apply to immediately re-join their relatives.
The Syrian young people at the heart of today’s case will be allowed to stay, and some have already been granted protection here.
Responding to the ruling, Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “It’s extremely concerning that across Europe children with the legal right to come to Britain are living in danger of exploitation and abuse. It’s vital that all governments work together to ensure that effective systems are in place to ensure these children are quickly identified and then safely and swiftly reunited with their loved ones. Children’s safety must always be the top priority.”