Significant risk to children’s rights in the new asylum system

Upcoming changes to the Immigration Rules put children’s safety and welfare at risk

The Home Office have published a statement of changes to the Immigration Rules that are due to come into force at 11pm on 31st December 2020 – the end of the transition period following the UK’s exit from the EU.

These changes will affect all children who arrive in the UK and seek protection, whether they arrive as part of a family, separated, or if they have been trafficked into the UK. The new rules allow the government to refuse to consider  claims for protection where they consider that the child, young person or family ‘could have made an application for protection’ in a ‘safe third country’. The rules also seek to allow the UK to remove such a person from the UK to any safe third country, not just countries they could have made a claim for protection in, as well as limiting where someone can claim asylum in the UK.

Coram Children’s Legal Centre work with many children and young people who have arrived in the UK via other countries. The reasons for their coming to the UK are varied and complex. For children, they arrive in the UK through circumstances often beyond their control. These changes seek to undermine our legal commitments and our standards in how we treat some of the most vulnerable children in society.

With systemic issues and delay rife in the UK immigration system, these changes will add further confusion, harm and delay for those children and young people most in need of safety and protection.