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“What’s going to happen tomorrow?” Unaccompanied children refused asylum, 10/04/14 [E/NI/S/W]

Based on interviews with young people who arrived in the UK as unaccompanied children seeking asylum and with professionals who work with them, this report reveals that some children face a struggle to get their voices heard in a system designed to deal with adults.

Children and young people who claim asylum are placed in the care system until they turn 18 but if their claims fail they are then required to leave the UK. This interrupts their education and disrupts their lives. Having learned English and settled in the UK, they are then asked to return to countries they have not seen since childhood, where languages are spoken which they may not be able to write.

The report examines the arrangements for helping an unaccompanied child to put a case before a decision-maker, and at what happens if that case is rejected. It shows the uncertainty young people face as their stay in the UK progresses, causing them stress and anxiety. The report recommends that this group of young people's permission to remain should be aligned with care leaving legislation to allow them to complete their education or training. This would provide the vital grounding they need to progress with their lives successfully after leaving the UK, taking with them skills that could benefit the countries to which they are returned.

For full details see the Office of the Children's Commissioner's website.

Further Information

“What’s going to happen tomorrow?” Unaccompanied children refused asylum