The conundrum of unaccompanied children

Unaccompanied foreign children are the most unresolved point of European migration policies. It is a problem that the authorities too often fail on. This is particularly the case in the recognition of refugee status, when the verification of the asylum seeker’s declarations in relation to his/her background takes on a fundamental importance.
The UK is a striking example. According to the report ‘Happy Birthday? Disputes on the age of children in the immigration system’, hundreds of unaccompanied children seeking asylum were put in danger by social workers who did not believe their versions of events. The Coram Children’s Legal Centre warns that many experts have misclassified many children as adults. This has resulted in them becoming homeless, being denied the right to study or imprisoned illegally in detention centres for adults. This harsh approach is explained by two facts. One is that classifying under-18s as adults saves the government money, as it removes the state’s obligation to support them and allows the Home Office to forcibly expel them from the UK. The second factor is that this hard line on immigrants is a winning electoral strategy for all parties.

‘Happy Birthday? Disputes on the age of children in the immigration system’ click here
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