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.