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The rights of undocumented migrant children in the UK

Date:15 NOV 2013

Coram Children's Legal Centre has published new research into the rights of undocumented migrant children in the UK. The research supports the Centre's argument that current ‘hard line' strategy on immigration in the UK is putting these children at risk. The Executive Summary to the report, Growing Up In A Hostile Environment: The rights of undocumented migrant children in the UK, explains:

‘Undocumented migrant children, who live in the UK without regular immigration status, are often unable to access appropriate education, healthcare and support as a result of their immigration status, leaving them cut off from society and in many cases facing extreme poverty. At the same time, they are often unable to either return to their (or their parent/s') country of origin, or to take the necessary steps to regularise their status, even when they have strong claims for remaining in the UK. The former may be due to ongoing fear and protection needs; the latter due to lack of awareness of their legal options, inadequate or unavailable legal advice, and prohibitive Home Office application fees. This circular problem, wherein immigration status leaves ‘unreturnable' children and young people in ‘precarious situations with no access to basic social rights' but the current asylum and immigration system does not sufficiently allow for individuals to resolve their immigration issues, is one that must be addressed with great urgency if the UK is to fulfil its legal obligations to children.'

The report examines the ways in which lack of immigration status is an obstacle to children and young people accessing their basic rights and entitlements and the difficulties this group face in regularising their status and obtaining essential legal advice.

The full report can be accessed on the Coram Children's Legal Centre website.