We have worked with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), NGOs, local authorities and the devolved administrations to provide a resettlement route to the UK, specifically designed for children at risk from the Middle East and North Africa region. On the UNHCR’s recommendation the scheme will target all children at risk as defined by the UNHCR. This includes unaccompanied children and separated children (those separated from their parents and/or other family members) as well as other vulnerable children such as child carers and those at risk of child labour, child marriage or other forms of neglect, abuse or exploitation.
We will commit to resettling several hundred individuals in the first year with a view to resettling up to 3000 individuals over the lifetime of this Parliament, the majority of whom will be children. Further details can be found in the Written Ministerial Statement available at:
Further, our refugee family reunion policy allows immediate family members of a person in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection status – that is a spouse or partner and children under the age of 18, who formed part of the family unit before the sponsor fled their country of origin – to reunite with them in the UK.
Where a family reunion application fails under the Immigration Rules, the Entry Clearance Officer must also consider whether there are exceptional circumstances or compassionate reasons to justify granting a visa outside the Rules. This caters for family members in exceptional circumstances and would include minors applying to join a member of their extended family who has refugee status or humanitarian protection.
A British citizen or individual with indefinite leave to remain can also sponsor a child to come to the UK under the Immigration Rules if they are that child’s parent, irrespective of whether the child is a refugee.
There is also provision for a child to seek leave to enter to join a relative who has refugee leave or is a beneficiary of humanitarian protection where the relative is not the parent of the child, and the child is under the age of eighteen. Other requirements apply such as the need to be able to care for the child without recourse to public funds. Exceptional circumstance will also be considered in these cases.