The Home Office today came under fire for its plans to deport up to 500 unaccompanied asylum seeking children back to Vietnam.
The proposals are part of a policy to return unaccompanied asylum seeking children back to their home countries where possible, following a ten per cent rise in applications.
The Home Office said there were “no immediate” plans to deport Vietnamese children back and said considerations were “still in the planning stages”.
No final agreement is understood to have been reached with the Vietnamese government over returns, although Home Office officials have recently made two visits to the country.
The Refugee Council said it was “very concerned” about the proposals, in particular because of the risks posed in returning trafficked children.
Deputy chief executive Anna Reisenberger said the plans “raised serious issues” about the children’s safety and that a return should only ever go ahead if it was in the child’s best interest.
A Home Office spokesperson said the best interests of the child “would always be a primary consideration”.