Migrant Children in Care are Being Robbed of their Settled Status

(Credit: Unsplash)

This article was written by one of our passionate readers, Mr. Aaron Gates-Lincoln, writer for Immigration News. The opinions expressed within reflect only the writer’s views and not The European Sting’s position on the issue.


The UK immigration system is a complex web of hostile environment policies, which are self-admittingly designed to make the lives of migrants hard. Concerns have now begun to rise that these policies are deepening, and are impacting the lives of vulnerable children more so than ever. 

It is being estimated that thousands of children of EU nationals who are now in the UK care system are going to be put at risk by flaws in the EU Settlement Scheme. The scheme, introduced after Brexit, allows EU citizens to apply to receive indefinite leave to remain status within the UK. For children in care, applications for the scheme must be submitted by the local authority in which they are situated in. 

However, a Freedom of Information request by the Children’s Society has found that so far, fewer than 40% of the 3700 or so eligible children in care that are known of have had their applications submitted. Numbers may be significantly higher than this, as many local authorities do not keep nationality data for children in care. With the deadline for applications now less than 3 months away, this is extremely worrying for the immigration security of this group of vulnerable children. 

To exacerbate the anxiety surrounding these numbers, it is not clear how not submitting an application may impact these children. Concerns are being raised that the issue could mirror that of the Windrush scandal, in which thousands of Commonwealth citizens were wrongly detained and deported due to problems surrounding documentation. With this in mind, it could be estimated that the group will apply for housing or employment in the future and only then discover their unlawful status. This could seriously put them at the risk of unjust detainment and deportation.

The EU Settlement Scheme has emerged and exposed itself as a covert element of the UK government’s hostile environment policies. Children in care having to rely on others to submit applications for something that should be an automatic right is the harsh reality of current immigration policy. The government itself has ignored calls from MPs to fast-track children in care through the process, instead opting to place the responsibility on struggling local authorities.

It is also unjust that local authorities have been encouraged by the government to place children in care on this immigration track. Evidence has shown that for children of EU nationals in care, most, if not all, could have the rights to citizenship. Instead, the children who actually have applications submitted are placed on a scheme that would offer them nowhere near the same number of rights and entitlements.

It is vital that this group of children are given the opportunity to gain the citizenship that they are entitled to. Children born in the UK, who have parents with settled status, or have lived the first 10 years of their life there, have the right to register to be a citizen. The Home Secretary also has a discretionary power to grant any child citizenship when it is evident that their future lies in the UK, like if they are taken into the care system for example. 

In most cases, children in care are not taken down this pathway due to extortionate citizenship fees. For each application, local authorities have to pay £1000, £640 of which is direct profit to the Home Office. In addition, the lack of required parental information that could result in failed applications prevents local authorities from submitting them in the first place. Due to current laws, if children in care are not put on the citizenship pathway before the age of 18, they will lose their right to citizenship when they reach this age. 

The system that children in care are subject to is obviously rigged against them, and is designed to work against their best interests. The recent apologies for the Windrush scandal seem empty when it becomes clear that the government in setting up another generation of immigrants to be subject to the same injustices. It is vital that local authorities are pressured to ensure that all eligible children in care have their applications submitted for the EU Settlement Scheme. However, it is equally important that the government is pressured to change the law, and give migrant children in care the lifelong right to apply for citizenship. 

Here are some petitions to sign that may be helpful:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/564011

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/582742

Here is some further reading on the topic: 

https://www.amnesty.org.uk/files/2018-09/Childrens%20Right%20to%20Citizenship%20-%20Background%20Information.pdf?6_Ky2GxSv580ARFNiKeUNpenFsozcJ1C=

Join the Hive!

the sting Milestones

Featured Stings

Can we feed everyone without unleashing disaster? Read on

These campaigners want to give a quarter of the UK back to nature

How to build a more resilient and inclusive global system

Stopping antimicrobial resistance would cost just USD 2 per person a year

UN chief welcomes South Sudan’s Unity government, lauds parties for ‘significant achievement’

With lifelong learning, you too can join the digital workplace

Legendary Harlem Globetrotters slam-dunk at the UN, with message that brings families, nations together

German stock market is not affected by the Greek debt revolution while Athens is running out of time

A Europe that delivers: EU citizens expect more EU level action in future

Ukraine: Temperatures plunge amid rising humanitarian needs

How to talk about climate change: 5 tips from the front lines

This Canadian start-up turns millions of chopsticks into sustainable furniture

OECD Secretary-General Gurría welcomes announcement of new trade agreement between the US, Mexico and Canada

How tech is helping the agriculture sector curb carbon emissions

2019 data on official development aid & online discussion of ODA’s role in the Covid-19 crisis

Spanish vote – bad luck for Greece: Does Iphigenia need to be sacrificed for favourable winds to blow in Eurozone?

How three US cities are using data to end homelessness

MEPs want to ensure sufficient funding for Connecting Europe’s future

Post-Brexit muddled times: the resignation of UK’s top ambassador and Theresa May’s vague plans

Re-open EU: Commission launches a website to safely resume travelling and tourism in the EU

How to make primary healthcare a favourable career choice for medical students: strategies and reflections

Eastern Partnership: Commission proposes new policy objectives for beyond 2020

What if big-tech companies became non-profits?

South Sudan: UN rights experts see little headway on peace deal amid spike in local-level violence

UN official sees ‘unprecedented opportunities’ to make progress on peace in Afghanistan

Commission supports reform projects in Member States for more jobs and sustainable growth

Polish de facto ban on abortion puts women’s lives at risk, says Parliament

Mobile health technology: Advances, Facilitations and Promotion of Autonomy

Road injuries leading cause of death for the young, despite safety gains: UN report

State aid: Commission approves up to €4 billion French measure to recapitalise Air France

Iran: UN rights chief ‘deeply disturbed’ by continuing executions of juvenile offenders

This afternoon Britain will be once more isolated from mainland Europe

MEPs want ambitious funding for cross-border projects to connect people

EU’s guidelines on net neutrality see the light although grey areas do remain

Why South Africa is on a path of economic renewal

Built by a woman: supporting the dreams of mum entrepreneurs

Texting is a daily source of stress for 1/3 of people – are you one of them?

Pandemic versus fear

A breath of fresh air: How three disused industrial areas became beautiful parks

Will the French let Macron destroy their party political system?

Pro-EU forces won a 70% triumph in the European elections

Norway has successfully enforced its foreign bribery laws but faces potential obstacles

EU is not only obsessed with Facebook but also blaims now innocent websites using social plugins to serve democratic dialogues?

Right-wing “sovranism” harm national identity

EU revengefully shows no mercy to Cameron by demanding a fast and sloppy Brexit now

What wealth managers can learn from family dynamics

How global food safety protects the planet and begins on the farm

OECD: Mind the financial gap that lies ahead

Why collaboration will be key to creating the workforce of the future

Green Deal: How MEPs wish to channel EU investment to sustainable activities

VW emissions scandal: While U.S. car owners are vindicated, Europe still unable to change its laws and protect its consumers

If on a summer’s night: is UK businesses’ “new deal” the only key to the “best of all worlds”?

The needs, challenges and power dynamics of refugee resettlement

A jingoistic Spanish ‘war’ from the past

Euro celebrates its 20th birthday

Students & Allies Unite Globally To Launch #Students_Against_COVID

This team of Saudi women designed an award-winning app to make the Hajj safer

Here’s how we get businesses to harmonize on climate change

Forty-two countries adopt new OECD Principles on Artificial Intelligence

No more lead in PVC to protect public health, say MEPs

‘Multiplicity’ of rights violations in Ukraine as fifth winter of conflict bites

5G: How a ‘legion of robots’ could help save the rhino

It’s Trump’s anti-globalization and inward-looking rhetoric that perturbs GOP and US

‘No shortcuts to a healthier world’: WHO chief sets out health priorities for the decade

More Stings?

Speak your Mind Here

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s