Officials at Calais 'jungle' migrant camp to find children eligible to live in UK

British and French officials have begun the process of registering unaccompanied children at the Calais Jungle migrant camp with a view to allowing them to join relatives in the UK. A large number of child refugees are expected to arrive in Britain within days, although those without relatives in the country will be subject to a seperate registration process. Calais Jungle closure: call to reunite children with relatives in Europe, including about 200 who have UK links— UN Refugee Agency (@Refugees) October 15, 2016 Under EU legislation, unaccompanied children have the right to claim asylum in countries where family members are living. EU-wide regulation stipulates that asylum must be claimed in the first safe country a person reaches, but minors can have their claim transferred to countries where they have relatives. It is understood that the UK plans to take over 300 children, although charity Safe Passage, which is working alongside the British government in its efforts to bring children in before French authorities close the camp, says it has not seen operational plans detailing how they will be transferred. UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd said in an interview with the Daily Mail newspaper that there would be “no slacking” from the UK government. Impending closure The French government plans to dismantle the camp by the end of the year. Aid groups have asked to delay the closure, citing a lack of preparedness to adequately relocate the camps inhabitants. President Francois Hollande has promised to set up “reception and orientation centres” for the estimated 10,000 refugees living at the camp. Those who successfully applied for asylum will be given a “dignified welcome”, he said, but those who were unsuccessful would be deported. Aid agencies put the number of unaccompanied minors living at the camp at between 1,000 and 1,300, 95 percent of which are hoping to reach the UK. Protesters with union flag clash with French police over Calais jungle #D2— Report UK (@ReportUK) October 3, 2016

Officials from the Home Office are spending the coming week at the 'jungle' migrant camp in Calais attempting to identify unaccompanied minors who are eligible to come to the UK. After months of delay and confusion, the Home Secretary Amber Rudd announced last week that she wanted to see as many children as possible brought to the UK before the camp closes. The French authorities were due to begin the dismantling of the settlement this week but have now delayed the process, in part to allow for the UK to extract eligible minors.

This is obviously not a place where you can feel happy. We are sad and want to be with our brother, father and cousin and want help with the transfer because we are young and don't know how to go about it.

Brothers Jamshed and Ahjamal aged 14 and 16 from Afghanistan, speaking to the BBC

Under EU legislation, any asylum seeker who is under 18, unaccompanied and who has a parent, sibling or grandparent in the UK is entitled to be reunited with their family. Under separate new UK legislation, known as the Dubbs Amendment, the British government has also pledged to take in some unaccompanied minors who do not have relations in the UK. The challenge for Home Office officials now is to identify eligible minors - a process fraught with complications. Most of the minors are not young children but teenagers: 15, 16 and 17-year-olds, many without passports or other ID. Proving their age, their claim to be travelling alone and the existence of their relatives in the UK is extremely hard. The French government has said that the camp will be closed by the end of the year and that everyone will be moved to asylum processing centres dotted around France.

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Estimates vary, but charities put the numbers of unaccompanied minors in the camp at about 1,000. The British government wants to move those who have families in the UK to Britain before the camp is demolished in the next few weeks



Family in the UK

The charity Safe Passage has been working to try to compile a database of the minors for several months. In July, it gave the Home Office a list of 178 minors who all claimed to have family in UK

Calais Jungle

The Calais"Jungle" is the nickname given to a refugee and migrant encampment in the vicinity of Calais, France, where migrants and refugees live. Many living in this camp attempt to illegally enter the United Kingdom via the Port of Calais or the Eurotunnel by stowing away on lorries, ferries, cars, or trains traveling to the UK.

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