Today, fourteen children who have been living in the so-called Calais ‘Jungle’ will arrive in the UK to reunite with family members already living in Britain.
The effort to bring unaccompanied children to the UK has been stepped up ahead of the planned demolition of the camp in coming weeks.
The children are being brought to the UK under the Dublin III Regulation, a piece of European legislation that recognises the importance of family unity. It allows people who have made an asylum application in one European country to be transferred to another if they have family members in that country.
It is understood that the children left the port in Northern France on Monday morning and will register with the Home Office in Croydon, South London, when they arrive.
More children are expected to arrive this week after a team of British officials were sent to Calais to assist French authorities on the transfer of the children.
Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “This announcement is life changing, if not life saving, for the children coming here today to be reunited with their families.
“However, it is important that the government shows the same urgency in reuniting all families who have been torn apart while seeking safety and now find themselves spread across Europe. Families should not have to take life threatening journeys in order to be together.
“Governments across Europe, including the UK, have put border control above family unity for far too long. It’s vital that all governments across Europe now work together to ensure that effective systems are in place so that families can be reunited safely and swiftly.”
The Refugee Council’s is the lead agency in the UK working with separated children.