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Refugees: Children

Home Office written question – answered on 11th September 2017.

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Photo of Tommy Sheppard Tommy Sheppard Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Cabinet Office), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Scotland), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (House of Lords)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, if her Department will consider the recommendations of the report by Christine Beddoe on separated and unaccompanied minors in Europe.

Photo of Brandon Lewis Brandon Lewis The Minister for Immigration

The Government has noted the report by the Human Trafficking Foundation into the independent inquiry into the situation of separated and unaccompanied minors in parts of Europe and is considering its recommendations. We are already working on a number of the areas addressed in the report.

The UK is working very closely with France and other EU Member States in respect of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children. This includes ensuring the timely and efficient operation of the Dublin Regulation, to allow children with qualifying family in the UK to be transferred here for consideration of their asylum claim, where it is in the child’s best interests. We also remain fully committed to implementing section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, and are working with Member State authorities and other partners to identify and transfer children to the UK quickly and safely. However, the primary responsibility for unaccompanied children lies with the authorities in the country in which children are present. The UK government does not have the authority to operate unauthorised on the territory of another sovereign state.

The Department for Education and Home Office continue to work together with local authorities and NGOs to ensure that vulnerable children are safe, and their welfare promoted once they arrive in the UK. A joint safeguarding strategy for unaccompanied asylum-seeking and refugee children is due to be published in the Autumn.

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