Brexit will have a profound impact on the lives of children and young people for many years to come. We are working to ensure that the rights of children and young people are considered throughout the negotiation process and that the best interests of children are put first.
Together with notable children’s charities and experts, last year we put together a briefing paper Making Brexit work for children: The impact of Brexit on children and young people. Our key concerns include ensuring that children’s rights are routinely protected and promoted when EU law is transposed into domestic law, and ensuring that European National children in the UK are able to build their futures in this country.
Settlement for EU nationals in UK must take into account the rights of children
In 2016, over half a million European national children were living in the UK. Around 260,000 EU children and young people were born here. Non-EU children currently struggle to regularise their immigration status in a system which is complex, expensive and for which there is no free legal advice. Any new system for EU nationals must avoid an increase in children finding themselves undocumented as a result of practical barriers or policy decisions. We have called for a child-friendly settlement for European nationals currently residing in the UK that:
- Allows European nationals in the UK with permanent residence or who are able to show five years’ continuous residence, including all EEA family members and those with derivative rights, indefinite leave to remain through a simple process that is easy to administer with no application fee; and
- Ensures that all children and young people who have been in the UK are able to apply for settled status in their own right; and
- Ensures that children and families are able to protect their rights through a right of appeal in domestic courts and access to an independent adjudication mechanism
- Provides and promotes clearer guidance on European national children whose future is in the UK who may be registered as British citizens through the Secretary of State’s discretion.
We welcome the publication of the settlement scheme Statement of Intent (SoI) and Immigration Rules (Appendix EU). The SoI goes beyond the Withdrawal Agreement to simplify the application process for many individuals. However, we believe that there are still significant obstacles that many children and families will need to overcome in order to gain status. In particular, children who are not EU nationals themselves, or who are in family units with non-EU nationals, risk being left with precarious status through the settlement scheme
The protection and promotion of children’s rights
Withdrawal from the EU is the most fundamental constitutional change to the UK for a generation. As the UK prepares to leave the rights framework of the European Union, it is for parliament to ensure that vital rights for children are protected and continue to be promoted. The EU (Withdrawal) Bill intends to bring existing EU legislation into UK law. In doing so, we must ensure that the fundamental rights of children are not diluted as a result of this process. Read our briefings:
- EU (Withdrawal) Bill House of Lords Committee Stage Briefing – Childrens rights, February 2018
- EU (Withdrawal) Bill Committee Stage Briefing – Safeguarding, February 2018
Recent briefings and consultation responses
- EU Settlement Scheme – Concerns & Recommendations, August 2018
- Briefing: Settlement for European children in care, March 2018
- Briefing: A settlement for European children in the UK, November 2017
- Submission to the Joint Committee on Human Rights on the human rights implications of the EU (Withdrawal) Bill, November 2017
- Making Brexit work for children: The impact of Brexit on children and young people November 2017
- European Union (Withdrawal) Bill Briefing, Committee Stage, House of Commons, Protection and promotion of children’s rights November 2017
- Submission to Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry on the Home Office delivery of Brexit November 2017
- The impact of Brexit on children: Key policy recommendations for the new government