UK

Ministers plan new law to make it harder for adult asylum seekers to pose as children

Ministers plan new law to make it harder for adult asylum seekers to pose as children after more than 2,000 attempt to hoodwink authorities in the past five years

Ministers are planning a law change to make it harder for adult asylum seekers to pretend to be children, it was revealed today.

MPs were told that after the UK splits finally from the EU it will look at ways to remove ‘ambiguity’ from the way age assessments are currently carried out on new arrivals.

Last month it was revealed more than 2,000 adult asylum seekers arriving in the UK have lied about their age to be processed less harshly in the past five years.

Of the 3,755 ‘children’ investigated over their age by UK immigration since 2015 more than half were found to have been lying.

Facing the Home Affairs Committee today, Minister for Immigration Compliance Chris Philp was grilled by Tory Laura Farris about the way people are given ‘the benefit of the doubt’ in initial assessments.

He said: ‘One of the areas we are looking at closely is whether we can legislate just to clarify better in statute how these age assessment processes work, just to remove some of the ambiguity that currently exists.

‘Of course the risk goes both ways, because lawyers representing people say ”it’s very risky if you take someone who is under 18 and accidentally say they are over 18” – which is obviously true.

‘(But) equally, if you take someone who is significantly over 18 and put them in a school, that itself has very significant safeguarding risks. So these risks are two-way and sometimes in the commentary we hear about this the second of those risks is not adequately taken into account.’

Facing the Home Affairs Committee today, Minister for Immigration Compliance Chris Philp was grilled by Tory Laura Farris about the way people are given ‘the benefit of the doubt’ in initial assessments

Asylum seekers who are genuine child victims of war, terror and humanitarian disasters, will have the right to financial help with accommodation up until they are 25

Asylum seekers who are genuine child victims of war, terror and humanitarian disasters, will have the right to financial help with accommodation up until they are 25

Home Office figures last month revealed 2,203 cases resulted in the migrant’s age being verified as over 18.

Asylum seekers who are genuine child victims of war, terror and humanitarian disasters, will have the right to financial help with accommodation up until they are 25.

Those who are over 18 will still receive state funding if their application for asylum is successful. But the majority do not have the right to work in the UK meaning they must live off the small cash support of £37.75 per person, per week – £5.39 a day.

If a refugee does not have a birth certificate or other travel documents, a Home Office screening officer must decide whether or not they are a child based on their ‘physical appearance and demeanour’.

Unless the person appears ‘significantly’ over 18, they should be ‘afforded the benefit of the doubt and treated as children’ until they are age-assessed by local council social workers, official rules state.

This is to avoid the risk of a child migrant accidentally being placed in adult accommodation or detention. 

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