Immigration: Children in Care

Home Office written question – answered on 23rd July 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations the Home Office has received from local authorities about (1) the need for nationality advice for children in local authority care, and (2) problems in identifying children in local authority care and care leavers who need to use the EU Settlement Scheme.

Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to publish the new burdens assessment produced in relation to the need for local authorities to identify and support eligible children in care from the European Economic Area and their family members to regularise their immigration status through the EU Settlement Scheme.

Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour

To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend (1) to monitor, and (2) to ensure that (a) looked after children, and (b) care leavers, applying through the EU Settlement Scheme are getting the correct status, in particular that they are not assigned pre-settled status because they lack the necessary documents.

Photo of Baroness Williams of Trafford Baroness Williams of Trafford The Minister of State, Home Department, Minister for Equalities (Department for International Development)

The Home Office has not received direct representations seeking nationality advice for looked after children from local authorities. The difficulties that local authorities may encounter when identifying eligible looked after children and care leavers has been raised.

During engagement sessions, with the Home Office EU Settlement Scheme Safeguarding User Group, as early as May 2018, stakeholders, representing looked after children and care leavers, highlighted that local authorities do not routinely record nationality of children. To help local authorities prepare for the launch of the EU Settlement Scheme, the Home Office made several recommendations. Identifying the eligible cohort of children and care leavers was one of the recommendations, along with identifying resource to manage this work stream. The Home Office has also produced an information pack to assist local authorities with responsibilities for looked after children. The pack details the need to obtain identity documents, a process which local authorities are familiar with as it is required for other circumstances.

The Home Office has no plan to publish the new burdens assessment in relation to looked after children and the EUSS.

The Home Office is committed to continuing to engage with local authorities as they undertake their responsibilities to ensure that all eligible looked after children and care leavers are supported to make an application to the EUSS. The Home Office will ensure that caseworkers liaise with and support applicants to get the status they require. The Home Office is directly engaging with local authorities, social workers, and those making applications on behalf of looked after children and care leavers to provide support and information.

If an applicant indicates that they expect to be granted settled status but the evidence for that status is incomplete, the Home Office will make multiple attempts to contact the applicant and help them to provide the evidence required.

The Home Office is monitoring applications in relation to children in care and care leavers both via engagement with local authorities and by tracking applications received.

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