To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the number of child refugees attempting illegal crossings to the UK from mainland Europe, and (2) the impact that providing safe and legal routes would have on this number.
28 July 2020
This Government is committed to the principle of family reunion and to supporting vulnerable children. The UK will continue to be bound by the Dublin Regulation provisions during the transition period, allowing us to continue to transfer family reunion cases to the UK throughout 2020, and we will continue to process all family reunion requests that have been submitted but not completed under Dublin before the end of the transition period.
The UK has presented a genuine and sincere offer to the EU on a future reciprocal arrangement for the family reunion of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children together with a draft legal text.
Protecting vulnerable children remains a key priority for the Government. In 2019 alone, the UK received more asylum applications from unaccompanied children than any country in the EU and accounted for approximately 20% of all reported asylum claims from unaccompanied children in the UK and the 27 EU Member States.
In 2016, the UK committed to a one-off relocation of 480 unaccompanied children from France, Greece and Italy to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016.?On the 21st May we announced that 478 children had transferred under the scheme. The UK welcomes the pledges made by other countries to support Greece and stand ready to offer advice and guidance to those developing their own schemes.
The UK provides a safe and legal route to bring families of refugees together through its refugee family reunion policy. This route will not be affected when we leave the EU. In the year ending March 2020, over 7,400 Refugee Family Reunion visas were issued to partners and children of those previously granted asylum or humanitarian protection in the UK.
Additionally, Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules provides for family members wishing to enter or remain in the UK on the basis of their relationship with a family member who is a British citizen or settled in the UK, and those who are post-flight family of a person granted protection in the UK.