During the past week action has been taken by governments to begin closure of the migrant camp in Calais known as The Jungle, starting with moving younger migrants from within the camp and to a secure location. This has led to the UK taking in 14 minors, whose personal information was disclosed. They are also the first to be accepted of groups eligible to gain access into the UK as they have close relatives within the country.
The Home Office are continuing to identify minors who are eligible to gain access into the UK before the camp is scrapped. Home Secretary Amber Rudd told reports she would like to see as many children as possible brought into the country before the camp closes to assure they are out of the way of any conflict that may take place during the closure.
The French government were set to begin with the dissolve of the camp which has now been delayed, allowing the UK to collect any eligible minors to be removed from the camp before the dismantlement.
While under EU legislation, any of the asylum seekers under 18 and unaccompanied with a relative living within the United Kingdom are entitled to be reunited with their family and gain benefits from our system.
The Dubbs Amendment, a recently passed legislation by the EU has meant the UK Government have vowed to take on migrants who may not have any family in the UK. However, without any form of identification UK officials are struggling to identify minors who are eligible for access to the UK which has also led to further complications.
Most of the potential residents are teenagers, not younger children, most commonly 16-18 year olds, many without any relatives or form of identification. Verifying their claims to be travelling independently and identification as well as proof of relatives within the UK has proven to be a tricky task for officials.
Charity organisation Safe Passage
has worked to form a record of all minors over the past several months. With few Jungle residents on any form of registration identifying most refugees in the area is a tough process, which in cases has no resolution with an uncountable population to keep track of.
Safe Passage was able to form a list of 178 minors all claiming to have relatives in the United Kingdom. All applications were refused at the time, with the charity now stating that 18 of the migrants listed have gone missing.
Estimations for the population of Calais are spread very widely. Ranging from 6,000 to over 10,000. Another charity, Terre d’Asile (Haven) claim there are just under 1300 unaccompanied minors living within Calais. Without identification or any form of registration the accuracy of these estimates is impossible to verify as many migrants arrive and leave the camp on a daily basis. Many arriving from Southern Europe and hiding in trucks to gain access into the UK.
Some officials are concerned by the inaccurate information migrants may be providing, to boost asylum chances and gain access into the UK under legislation.
The French government released a statement revealing to the public that the camp will be closed by the end of the year meaning everyone within the camp will be moved to asylum processing centres around France. This has raised much concern across the board, as France has nowhere near the amount of spaces required in their asylum centres and minors cannot legally be placed in them. Meaning many migrants will look towards the UK for any chances of asylum.
Only time will tell whether the camp’s closure will be beneficial to hauliers, without a camp as base for the migrants and security increasing around the border accessing the vehicles travelling to the UK may prove to be more challenging than gaining access into the UK has been for the past few years. However, this doesn’t resolve the issue of where migrants unable to gain asylum in France will travel to next.
Lets hope whatever happens more incidents like this do not occur.