New rules to prevent child trafficking and unaccompanied children visiting the UK from being abused have been introduced by the government this week.
Immigration minister Tony McNulty told parliament that a loophole in the previous system that allowed children to be able to visit the UK alone, with an adult who was unrelated to them or with whom they have little connection would be closed.
He said that this led to some children being brought over to ‘facilitate fraud’ and suffering serious physical harm. He added that it also led to difficulty tracing them.
Previously children were able to apply for permission to come to the UK at the same time as other close family members but then not actually travel with them. Under the new rules children would be required to travel to the UK with an identified adult or make it clear that they are seeking permission to travel alone.
The changes also require unaccompanied children to show that adequate arrangements for their care here had been made and to identify a person in their home country who is responsible for them.