Today, the Immigration Minister, Caroline Nokes announced in the Parliament that 549 separated children transferred to the UK following the closure of the Calais refugee camp will be allowed to stay in the UK, even if some of them do not qualify for refugee protection. The Minister confirmed that this leave will be granted only to children who were brought here between October 2016 and July 2017 (when the camp was dismantled), were at that time under 18 years old, and have family relatives in the UK. These children will be allowed to study, work, access welfare and healthcare system and apply for settlement after ten years of continued residence.
Judith Dennis, Policy Manager at the Refugee Council said in response to the Immigration Minister’s announcement:
“This is very welcome news to the children concerned and their families, many of whom took on the care of their young relatives at very short notice when they were brought from the dire situation in which they’d been living in Calais. Children separated from family and seeking international protection are some of the most vulnerable in the UK. We hope this shows a move towards thinking of children’s best interests in all decisions that affect them, including claims for asylum.”