UK could review claims for asylum from child refugees in France


Some claims for asylum in the UK from child refugees in France could be reviewed, the Home Office said as ministers came under pressure to take more in.

Officials will look again at claims from children who had previously been in the migrant camp in Calais if there is new information about them.

The Home Office has agreed the move with the French authorities, but it will only apply for children who have family links in the UK.

The Government has faced a backlash after it emerged just 350 unaccompanied children will be given a home in the UK under the so-called Dubs amendment - far fewer than the 3,000 campaigners had hoped for.

The latest development does not alter the closure of the Dubs scheme under section 67 of the Immigration Act, but it could help children with relatives in the UK who may be eligible for asylum under the Dublin Regulation covering family reunion cases.

After the clearance of the Calais Jungle site, children who were moved to migrant centres across France were assessed under the Dubs and Dublin criteria.

A Home Office spokeswoman said: "Children in France may be eligible to be transferred to the UK where they have a family link as set out in the Dublin Regulation.

"We have agreed with the French authorities that we will review any new information from children formerly resident in the Calais camp to assess whether it would change our determination of their eligibility under the Dublin Regulation, to encourage an application."

The development came as The Guardian reported migrant youngsters had returned to the site of the former Calais camp in a renewed effort to make the crossing to the UK.

One teenager who arrived in London this weekend after hiding beneath a coach at the port told the newspaper that increasing numbers of children in French reception centres had lost hope of travelling to the UK by official means and were returning to Calais.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "It is ridiculous that it has taken so much public pressure to force this Conservative government to live up to its moral duty.

"The Government must now reinstate the Dubs scheme and bring unaccompanied child refugees to the UK who are in Greece and Italy too.

"These children are vulnerable and face exploitation. Britain has always been a place of sanctuary and none are more deserving than these lone children."

The SNP's Westminster leader has also called on Theresa May to show "moral and political leadership" by reversing the decision to end the Dubs scheme for bringing lone child refugees to Britain.

Angus Robertson has written to the Prime Minister on behalf of the party's MPs seeking an urgent meeting on the closure of the scheme.

The decision, which sparked an outcry, will come under scrutiny at Westminster this week with a special session of the Home Affairs Select committee on Wednesday and a House of Commons debate on Thursday.

The UK Government said it is "committed to supporting vulnerable children who are caught up in conflict and danger".

Mr Robertson said: "The Prime Minister cannot continue to remain silent in the face of growing pressure from the public and parliament to reverse this shameful decision.

"We are in the midst of the worst humanitarian crisis since the Second World War - it will not just go away, and the UK Government must not shirk its moral responsibility to receive our fair share of unaccompanied child refugees.

"These are some of the most vulnerable children in the world - we can and must do more to protect them.

"Tory ministers have been far too slow and reluctant to act throughout the refugee crisis. The relatively weak commitments that they have made must now be kept - and instead of closing down key routes to sanctuary the UK Government should be stepping up its resettlement efforts.

"Theresa May must now show some moral and political leadership by immediately scrapping plans to end the Dubs Scheme and by stepping up the UK Government's refugee resettlement efforts."