Thangam Debbonaire – 2016 Parliamentary Question to the Home Office

The below Parliamentary question was asked by Thangam Debbonaire on 2016-05-19.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, how many of her officials are working in Calais and Northern France to identify, screen and process those unaccompanied child refugees who are potentially eligible under the Dublin III Regulation for family reunion in the UK; and how many applications under that regulation have been processed in each of the last 15 weeks.

James Brokenshire

Under the UK-France Joint Declaration of 20 August 2015, the UK and France have committed to ensuring that the provisions of the Dublin III Regulation are used efficiently and effectively. To assist the handling of such cases, the two Governments have established a permanent official contact group, agreed single points of contact within respective Dublin Units and the UK seconded an asylum expert to the French administration to improve all stages of the process of identifying, protecting and transferring relevant cases to the UK. The Home Office will review the existing arrangements as part of the work to implement relevant provisions of the Immigration Act 2016. Between the start of January 2016 and 30th April 2016 our records indicate that the UK has accepted over 30 requests from France under the Dublin Regulations to take charge of asylum seeking children on family grounds of which more than 20 have already been transferred to the UK.

To assist with the identification of potential victims of trafficking and exploitation (including unaccompanied children) in Calais, the UK has funded a project run by a French non-governmental organisation which aims to identify and direct these vulnerable people to the appropriate support services in France.

The UK and France are running regular joint communication campaigns in northern France which informs individuals (including unaccompanied children) of their rights to claim asylum in France and gives them information on family reunification. The frequency of these campaigns has been increased in line with the Joint Declaration signed in August 2015.