The Home Office made public its new guidelines which introduce eligibility criteria for refugee children from Calais who apply for relocation under the Dubs Amendment. The new guidelines limit the scope of the amendment.
To be eligible, it must be the case that transfer to the UK is in the best interests of the child, they must have been present in the Calais camp on or before 24 October 2016, and they must have arrived in Europe before 20 March 2016. In addition, the child must meet at least one of the following criteria: 12 years old or under; referred by the French authorities (or an organization working on their behalf) as being at high risk of sexual exploitation; 15 years old or under and of Sudanese or Syrian nationality; or under 18 and the accompanying sibling of a child meeting one of the above additional criteria.
— Refugee Action (@RefugeeAction) November 17, 2016
These guidelines limit the scope of the Dubs Amendment, under which the UK government vowed to grant protection to unaccompanied refugee children located in other European countries. Stephen Hale, Chief Executive of Refugee Action, stated: ‘’We’re frankly appalled that the Government appears to be backtracking on its commitment to protect unaccompanied child refugees from Calais. The new guidelines will leave children at risk and deny their right to seek sanctuary in Britain simply because of their age or nationality.”
Earlier this week the media reported on rising anxiety among the refugee children dispersed from Calais to reception centres across France. Unclear information and growing distrust about their relocation options has led to children running away from the centres, hoping to enter the UK informally.
For further information:
- ECRE, Calais: the dismantlement of the camp should not be an end in itself – OP-ed by Pierre Henry, Director of France Terre d’Asil, November 2016
- ECRE, Dismantling of the Calais refugee camp should not mark the end of unaccompanied refugee children arriving to the UK, October 2016