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Refugee children to be granted “Calais leave”


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The government has announced a new type of permission to remain in the UK for children resettled from the Calais refugee camp last year who would not otherwise qualify for asylum. So-called “Calais leave” will allow children brought over from the infamous “Jungle” camp between October 2016 and July 2017 to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and apply for settlement after ten years. Applicants must have “recognised family ties” in the UK.

The announcement has been welcomed by refugee charities. Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said:

We can be proud of our record of helping refugee and other vulnerable children affected by conflict, violence and instability, since the start of 2010 we have provided asylum or an alternative form of protection to over 31,000 children.

I am determined that we continue in these efforts and that is why we are introducing a new form of leave, exclusively for children brought to the UK from the Calais camp, so that they can continue rebuilding their lives with their families in the UK.

Calais leave “will take effect in the autumn of 2018” via a change to the Immigration Rules.

Some of the resettled children were already covered by a special scheme. In June, the Rules were amended to cover the group who were brought to the UK under the Dubs amendment, offering them “Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 leave”. That applied to 220 of the 769 children brought over. The other 549 were either entitled to refugee status or will be covered by Calais leave.

The Home Office was severely criticised by the Court of Appeal in a case arising from its operation to resettle children from the Calais camp when it was closed down by the French authorities, with judges finding that the High Court had been “materially misled” by officials giving evidence about the process.


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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.