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Family Law

The leading authority on all aspects of family law

28 JUN 2013

Foreign Lands: Part 5: An introduction to the asylum process for minors

Gillian Geddes

Barrister, 2-3 Hind Court

A series of articles for family lawyers about how to get the best for clients who are minors subject to immigration control

Every year unaccompanied minors arrive and claim asylum in the UK.  Children's welfare has not always been paramount within the asylum control processes. The Parliamentary Enquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People found this year that "the current asylum support system is still in urgent need of reform".  This article tracks in detail the asylum process that unaccompanied minors will face, from day one's initial screening through to the final decision - to be allowed to stay and settle in the UK, or to be removed. Along the way, all children aged five or over will have their fingerprints taken, or minors may immediately be detained. Leave granted can be revoked.  The UKBA's general policy is that the best interests of children are usually to be reunited with their family, so family tracing should take place as soon as possible and should not necessarily be suspended until the asylum claim is finally determined.  If this is not possible, consideration is given to returning the child to "alternative safe and adequate reception arrangements" in his/her home country.  This article assists professionals as to how and when to be proactive along the course of the asylum process for minors.

The full version of this article appears in the July 2013 issue of Family Law.   

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