Asylum seekers who resist deportation may lose children

Children of asylum seekers whose applications have been
rejected, but who fail to return to their home country, may be
taken into care, immigration minister Beverley Hughes has warned,
writes Sally Gillen.

She told a meeting of the home affairs select committee that the
move was designed to deter asylum seekers from staying in the UK
after their appeal had been refused.

But committee chairperson John Denham said there were fears the
policy would not have the desired effect.

“There is concern that asylum seekers will not opt to
return, but instead disappear into a pool of illegal workers. If
that happens the government will encounter more expense and will be
adding to the problems of those individual families,” he

The news followed a government announcement of a £10
million fund to help councils fulfil their duties towards
unaccompanied asylum seekers until the age of 24, which the
Association of Directors of Social Services warned would not be

Peter Gilroy, chairperson of the ADSS task force on asylum
seekers, said the cash was a “good start and the first time
the government has acknowledged that councils with high numbers of
asylum seekers have serious financial issues”.

But he said the fund, which is part of the £100 million
safeguarding children grant, would “not be enough” and
director at Hillingdon’s director Hugh Dunnachie added it was
“woefully inadequate”. 

Earlier this year, the high court ruled against Hillingdon,
which receives children arriving at Heathrow, and all councils had
a duty to give unaccompanied minors the same support as care

Gilroy said the new money would be for those councils in which
there was a port of entry, but that other councils around the
country would be unwilling to accept unaccompanied minors without
guarantees that they would have the financial help to support them
after 18.

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