Report calls for 'fundamental change' in treatment of child asylum seekers who arrive in Britain alone
Allowing them to complete their education after they turn 18 would bring immigration law in line with legislation for British children leaving care
Emily Dugan is social affairs correspondent for The Independent, i and Independent on Sunday. She was previously a news reporter for The Independent on Sunday. Her investigations into human trafficking have twice been awarded Best Investigative Article at the Anti-Slavery Day Media Awards and her human rights journalism was shortlisted for the Gaby Rado Memorial prize at the 2012 Amnesty Media Awards.
Social Affairs Correspondent
Wednesday 09 April 2014
Unaccompanied child asylum seekers who are currently ordered to leave Britain when they turn 18 should be allowed to complete their education first, the Children’s Commissioner for England says.
A report published today by the Office of the Children’s Commissioner calls for a “fundamental change” to the way children are treated in the asylum system.
The disruption to the lives and education of those children whose immigration status means they are made to leave at 18, is particularly highlighted. The findings come after the furore over A-level student Yashika Bageerathi, who was sent back to Mauritius before she completed her studies because she had passed her 18th birthday.
Instead of being automatically deported at 18, young people who come to Britain alone and claim asylum should be supported until they finish their studies, Maggie Atkinson, Children’s Commissioner for England argues. This would bring immigration law in line with legislation for British children leaving care.
Ms Atkinson said: “None of us at the Office of the Children’s Commissioner believe in open or unguarded borders. But these are children when they arrive here, often traumatised and in the cases of these we worked with for this study, unaccompanied and unsupported.
She added: “It makes sense to ensure young people required to leave the UK have the best chance of integrating into and becoming active members of their future communities. Allowing them to complete their education in the UK provides the best chance for a sustainable return.”
Matthew Reed, chief executive of The Children’s Society, said: “This report shines a much needed spotlight on the fact that the government is failing to protect young asylum seekers, who fled their countries alone as children, from abuse and exploitation.
“By denying them support after they turn 18, the Government is forcing many of these young people into destitution. Many are being left homeless, without money, food or access to medical care. This is unacceptable and puts their health and well-being at risk.”
A Home Office spokeswoman did not respond to questions from The Independent.
- 1 Fifty Shades of Grey trailer released: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
- 2 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 3 50 books for students to read this summer: From Ernest Hemingway to Gillian Flynn
- 4 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 5 Rebecca Hall on her film career so far: ‘I’ve played too many repressed neurotics’
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israeli targeting policy under scrutiny after shellfire hits a mother and child, a school full of refugees and a doctor’s home
Peaches Geldof: Her final day – and her fatal decision
Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
Iraq crisis: Isis orders Mosul shop keepers to cover mannequins
Israel-Gaza conflict: Israel may have committed war crimes, says UN human rights chief
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Vladimir Putin is given 'one last chance' to end hostilities in Ukraine
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
£21000 - £35000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Are you a flexible inspirat...
£90 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to have a ni...
£21000 - £32000 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to wo...