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Asylum: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 24th June 2016.

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Photo of David Lammy David Lammy Labour, Tottenham

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many unaccompanied child refugees have been reunited with relatives in the UK since the announcement, Unaccompanied asylum-seeking children to be resettled from Europe, on 4 May 2016.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

As announced by the Prime Minister on 4 May and now reflected in the Immigration Act 2016, we will work to admit unaccompanied refugee children to the UK from elsewhere in the EU, where this is considered to be in the child's best interests.

As the legislation sets out, we need to consult with local authorities first and we are also working closely with NGOs, the UNHCR, UNICEF and relevant Member States to establish suitable processes to implement this initiative.

Ministers and senior officials are in ongoing discussions with Greece, Italy and France to identify and transfer to the UK unaccompanied refugee children where it is in their best interests. We are also consulting local authorities, non-governmental organisations and UNHCR. In addition, we have worked with France to improve the operation of the Dublin family reunification process, and accepted over 30 transfer requests between January and the end of April with many more cases in train.

We are committed to act as quickly as we can but we must take the necessary time to ensure we have the capacity to support those who are resettled. We must also ensure that we are able to continue to fulfil our obligations to children who are already in the UK.

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