An inspection into the handling of asylum applications made by unaccompanied children: February-June 2013

Document type
Report
Author(s)
Vine, John (Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency)
Publisher
Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration
Date of publication
31 October 2013
Subject(s)
Minority Groups, Children and Young People
Corporate subject(s)
Great Britain. Home Office
Collection
Social welfare
Material type
Reports

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Asylum applications by unaccompanied children and young people form 5% of all asylum claims in the UK and are some of the most important that the Home Office is required to consider. This group is particularly vulnerable and the Home Office has legal obligations to safeguard these children and actively promote their welfare, in addition to deciding whether they qualify for refugee status in the UK.

This inspection examined the handling of applications with a particular focus on safeguarding. Inspectors looked at how the Home Office dealt with children when it first encountered them, whether at ports of entry (Dover, Heathrow), or other locations (Croydon, Solihull). They analysed the reasons why it disputed the claimed ages of certain applicants and the outcomes in those cases. They also examined the application of procedural safeguards to the interview stage and the decision-making process in the two regions that dealt with most unaccompanied children – the Midlands and East of England and London and the South-East.

Overall, the inspection found trained Home Office staff committed to safeguarding children and working effectively in partnership with local authority social workers.

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