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First unaccompanied migrant children with no UK links arrive in Britain

Teenagers arrive in London from the Calais 'Jungle' camp earlier this week. Credit: PA Wire

The first group of unaccompanied children without links to Britain have arrived in the UK from the Calais 'jungle' refugee camp.

The children are among the latest wave of around 70 new young arrivals to cross the English Channel under the landmark Dubs amendment.

Changes to the Immigration Act means the UK must accept some of the "most vulnerable" unaccompanied child refugees who do not necessarily have ties to the UK.

Previously, all young refugees who have arrived in Britain have been brought under the Dublin regulations, which require the children to have family resident in the UK.

A teenager leaves the Home Office's Lunar House in Croydon after arriving from Calais. Credit: PA Wire

Bishop Jonathan Clark, spokesman for Citizens UK, said: "It's great to see government acting on what Citizens UK have been calling for, and transferring these children to Britain.

"Not just children seeking to reunite with their families, but also the most vulnerable who are at last being transferred to Britain under the provisions of the Dubs amendment, including many young girls, who have arrived today."

Mr Clark added: "Of course this is just a very small proportion of the unaccompanied children out there, and less than 1% of the total number of people in the Calais camp now - the vast majority of whom will be claiming asylum in France as they should."

People cheer and wave placards, after a coach carrying migrant children arrived in London from Calais. Credit: PA Wire

The latest arrivals come as demolition teams prepare to move into the camp on Monday and clear the estimated 6,500 inhabitants who will be relocated to reception centres across France.

Lily Caprani, deputy executive director of Unicef UK, said: "Once the demolition starts there are no second chances.

"If it results in a single child going missing, or forces them into the hands of smugglers and traffickers, then we will have failed them."

Some of the first wave of arrivals this week prompted reports that the refugees look older than teenagers.

Conservative MP David Davies said 14 youngsters who arrived in the UK from Calais on Monday "did not look like children".