The Guardian report this morning that the UK Home Office has “agreed to review asylum applications from child refugees in France after it emerged that several had returned to the site of the former Calais camp in a renewed effort to make the crossing to the UK”.
After the closure of the ‘Jungle’ camp in Calais, child refugees were dispersed to a number of specialist reception centres across France. In recent weeks, the Home Office confirmed the closure of the ‘Dubs scheme’ with just 350 child refugees brought to the UK, rather than the originally understood target of 3,000.
“One teenager who arrived in London this weekend after hiding beneath a coach at the port told the Guardian that increasing numbers of children in French reception centres had lost hope of travelling to the UK by official means and were returning to the notorious site.”
Separate to the ‘Dubs scheme’, the Dublin convention was being used to bring unaccompanied refugee children with direct family links to the UK.
This has also come to an end. Home Office officials had visited children in French reception centres and assessed them against the family reunification criteria in the Dublin regulation. However, a further review has now been announced.
“We have agreed with the French authorities that we will review any new information from children formerly resident in the Calais camp to assess whether it would change our determination of their eligibility under the Dublin regulation, to encourage an application.”
You can read in the Guardian article about the experience of a 17-year old Sudanese boy who was moved to a reception centre to wait for the Home Office to process his claim before heading back to Calais and making the dangerous journey across to England.
Lord Dubs has welcomed the Home Office review of cases under the Dublin convention.