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UK takes migrant children responsibilities 'seriously'

The UK takes its international responsibilities to children seriously and their welfare is at the heart of every decision made.

Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are always given individual support and reassurance from those in social services and immigration.

Age assessments are vital in ensuring that children and adults are treated appropriately as unfortunately adults claim to be children in order to access this specialist support.

Rightly, local authorities are responsible for making this decision - as they need to make sure that adults are not placed in accommodation with vulnerable children.

– Home Office spokeswoman

Migrant children 'are some of the most vulnerable'

Unaccompanied migrant children in the asylum and immigration processes are some of the most vulnerable young people in the United Kingdom.

They have often fled conflict situations abroad or have been victims of abuse and exploitation, including those who arrive as victims of trafficking.

It is crucial that they are supported effectively. We do not find it satisfactory that immigration concerns are too often given priority when dealing with such children, in doing so the UK is falling short of the obligations it owes to such children under the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

– Joint Committee on Human Rights chairman Dr Hywel Francis MP

Children seeking safety in UK 'face culture of disbelief'

A group of MP and peers have said Britain is falling short of obligations set out under international law for dealing with migrant children.

According to a report by the Joint Committee on Human Rights:

  • In 2012, around 1,200 such children sought asylum in the UK, and around 2,150 unaccompanied migrant children were being cared for by local authorities.
  • Children who had often faced traumatic journeys faced intensive interviews on arrival.
  • There was also evidence of children being placed in inappropriate accommodation without suitably trained staff
  • A lack of support was "starkly" demonstrated by the "culture of disbelief" about the age of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
  • It found that the age of unaccompanied migrant children is too often disputed, putting their welfare and best interests at risk.
  • MPs also said decisions on children's futures are too often delayed until they approach adulthood, leaving children uncertain about what their futures will hold.

Britain 'is failing unaccompanied migrant children'

Britain is failing to dealing with migrant children who arrive in the country without parents or relatives, a group of parliamentarians has warned.

The UK is failing migrant children, MPs have said. Credit: PA

Immigration concerns are too often given priority over the protection of migrant children, including abuse victims and those who have fled conflict zones, MPs say.

The Joint Committee on Human Rights said the UK is as a result failing to meet the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, a treaty bound by international law.

It also calls on the Government not to return any children to Afghanistan or Iraq while conflict and humanitarian concerns persist.


Border Force will replace staff lost in cuts

Hundreds of immigration officers are to be recruited by the UK Border weeks after it disclosed that 450 staff were cut last year to meet government spending cuts.

500 new immigration officers could be recruited Credit: PA Wire

Committee 'alarmed' at high border control waiting times

The committee added it was also "alarmed" that maximum waiting times have been "consistently very high for the last 12 months".

Waiting times have been 'consistently very high', say MPs Credit: PA Wire

The maximum wait fell below two hours in only three of the previous 12 months, varying between one hour 55 minutes last November to two hours 55 minutes last July, figures showed.

The MPs also called for a better, more consistent way of measuring the queues.

And it raised fears that the situation at ports would "deteriorate over the Olympics, as more staff are moved to Heathrow", and in the weeks following the Games "when staff are finally able to take their leave".

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