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Calais and unaccompanied child refugees in Europe

Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017

A Backbench Business debate on a motion relating to Calais and unaccompanied child refugees in Europe will be held in the Commons Chamber on Thursday 2 November 2017. The debate will be opened by Heidi Allen MP.

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The text of the motion is:

That this House notes that it is one year since the Calais jungle camp was demolished; further notes that the UK demonstrated moral and political leadership in transferring 750 child refugees from intolerable conditions in that camp to be reunited with family members in Britain and provided those children with protection under Section 67 of the Immigration Act; and believes that as the UK prepares to leave the EU provision must be made to ensure that unaccompanied children in Europe can continue to access the safe and legal means to reunite with family and relatives in EU as is currently provided for under EU Dublin III Regulations.

The Backbench Business Committee has a page MPs debate unaccompanied child refugees in Europe.

Summary

Calls to extend the scope of UK refugee family reunion rules 

Calls to widen the scope of the UK’s refugee family reunion rules, in order to provide more safe and legal routes for refugee family reunion, are being given greater urgency by campaigners in light of the UK’s pending exit from the EU.

The EU’s ‘Dublin III Regulations’, which determine which Member State should be responsible for deciding an asylum claim, prioritise respect for family unity over certain other considerations.

Campaigners want the Government to extend the scope of the family reunion rules, so that they would apply to all dependent relationships. A particular concern for some is that, currently, there is no provision in the Immigration Rules for children who have been recognised as refugees to sponsor family members.

The Government has previously expressed concern that more generous family reunion rules might act as a pull factor for asylum seekers to come to the UK. It also argues that giving child refugees the right to sponsor family reunion applications might put children at greater risk of trafficking.

Refugee resettlement schemes 

For similar reasons to the above, the Government’s preferred approach is to offer resettlement to refugees directly from conflict regions rather than to those who have already arrived in Europe.

However, during the last Parliament it established a targeted scheme for resettling some unaccompanied refugee children already in Europe (the 'Dubs scheme'), in response to pressure from campaigners and Parliamentarians. It plans to resettle 480 children who are currently in France, Greece or Italy under this scheme; much less than the 3,000 or so that campaigners had originally hoped for.     

Commons Debate packs CDP-2017-0208

Authors: Melanie Gower; Sarah Pepin

Topic: Asylum

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