Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 provides that arrangements must be made by the Secretary of State to relocate to the UK, and support, a specified number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) from across Europe. Unaccompanied children are children who are non-EU nationals, who are stateless, below the age of 18, and arrive on the territory of an EU state unaccompanied by an adult responsible for them.
France, Greece and Italy have been invited to make referrals of eligible children, and it is their responsibility to decide which children to refer.
Children to be prioritised for referral are those who are likely to be granted refugee status in the UK, and those who are most vulnerable. Upon individual assessment, a child would become eligible if it were in their best interests to come to the UK, be transferred to another EU Member State or to be reunited with family outside of the EU, rather than remaining in their current host country. Finally, the child must be under 18 at the time of transfer to the UK.
An “Individual Best Interests Determination” must be carried out on a child before they can be transferred to the UK. If it is concluded that firstly, it is in the child’s best interests to be transferred to the UK, and secondly, no concerns arise as a result of security and identity checks, a referral will be made for the child to be placed with a local authority in the UK. The child will not be able to choose to be placed in a specific part of the UK. However, if placement in a specific part of the UK is in the child’s best interests, then that will be taken into consideration in deciding where the child is placed.
Importantly, being transferred under s.67 will not affect the child’s right to claim asylum. Once in the UK the child will undergo a welfare interview and will be advised on how to progress their claim for asylum. This information will also be shared with their local authority social worker. Children transferred to the UK under s.67 will be in addition to those transferred under the Dublin III Regulation.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.