The immigration service is to introduce new
controls on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children.
will be routinely subjected to interviews and reporting
arrangements will be introduced for those 16 and 17-year-olds who
face deportation once they reach 18 to ensure they keep in touch
with immigration authorities.
changes will involve new immigration rules and will not take place
until after the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Bill receives
royal assent, at the end of this year or the beginning of
Currently, unaccompanied minors
are not normally interviewed by immigration officials. Their
applications for asylum are decided on the basis of written
point of the interviews, said Kathy Casey, deputy director of
asylum and appeals policy at the Home Office, was to screen for
young people who may be making multiple applications, and also to
gather more information about the circumstances of their emigration
from their country of origin.
was speaking at a seminar on services for unaccompanied
asylum-seeking children held by Baaf Adoption and Fostering last
said that in order to meet tough targets on removals, immigration
officials would increasingly be deporting young people who had
reached 18, and been given leave to remain only until then, and
that social workers should be preparing them for return to their
country of origin rather than leaving them to be picked up off the
streets on their birthday.
she also told the seminar that any unaccompanied child or young
person who was granted four years’ exceptional leave to remain
could expect indefinite leave to remain once the four years had
Rourke, assistant chief inspector at the Social Services
Inspectorate, told the seminar the department was looking at
introducing arrangements for spreading the support for
unaccompanied asylum seeking children among a larger number of
social services department’s appeal to other local authorities for
help with the 2,000 children and young people it was supporting
produced some positive responses, he said.
number of applications for asylum from unaccompanied under-18s
almost trebled between 1997 and 2001 from 1,105 to 3,469. Last year
the largest number of applications came from Afghan children
Department of Health figures
indicate that there are 6,750 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children
currently supported by local authorities.