To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what steps she is taking to pre-screen young refugees from the camp in Calais before they enter the UK.
25 October 2016
The EU’s Dublin Regulation clearly sets out the criteria for transferring asylum claims between Member States. The Government wishes to reaffirm that migrants in Calais have not yet been determined as refugees, and furthermore, the Dublin Regulation is the EU’s mechanism for transferring asylum claims, rather than a resettlement route. Section 67 of the Immigration Act sets out that ‘unaccompanied refugee children’ will be relocated to the UK. In respect of Calais, the Government has been clear that unaccompanied children will be prioritised if they meet the Dublin criteria.
We work closely with the French authorities and their partner agencies to ensure all those who come to the UK from the camps in Calais are eligible under the Dublin Regulation. All individuals are referred to the UK authorities by the NGO France Terre D'asile (FTDA) and are then interviewed by French and UK officials. Basic security checks are conducted on all individuals prior to arrival, with further verification carried out once in the UK.
Where credible and clear documentary evidence of age is not available, criteria including physical appearance and demeanour are used as part of the interview process to assess age. Where we believe someone is significantly over 18, they will be refused. The Home Office does not use dental x-rays to confirm the ages of those seeking asylum as they have been described by the British Dental Association as inaccurate, inappropriate and unethical.
Since June the Home Office has been working closely with local authorities and Strategic Migration Partnerships across the UK to ensure that we have the structures in place to support the transfer of unaccompanied asylum seeking and refugee children, both within the UK and from Europe.