October 2016 – Child Refugees in Calais

October 2016 – Child Refugees in Calais

Thank you for contacting me about asylum claims, child refugees, and Calais.

First let me assure you that the Government supports the swift processing of asylum claims made in Calais. However for migrants, including children, to be processed under the Dublin Regulation they must first claim asylum in France. The Government has been clear that it will consider any request made by the French asylum authorities to take responsibility for an asylum applicant in France because they have close family in the UK.  The arrival of a group of children who have met these conditions last week is welcome and shows the Government has been dealing with these cases expeditiously

To ensure that the provisions of the Dublin Regulation are used efficiently and effectively in both countries, a joint contact group has been established in line with the commitment in the Joint Declaration published in August 2015. The UK has held regular discussions with French Interior Ministry colleagues, including visits to Calais and Dunkirk to examine the processes and the information made available to migrants

I understand your concerns for the welfare of migrants in camps in Calais. While I should point out that the management of the camp, both in terms of humanitarian aspects and maintaining law and order, is the responsibility of the French Government, I am glad that the UK has committed to providing £3.6 million per year for two years to help provide support and facilities elsewhere in France. This is so that migrants can be helped to enter the French asylum system in a safe, systematic and humane manner.

The French Government remains committed to meeting its EU and international obligations and the opening of new places in its asylum system for those that claim asylum in Calais demonstrates this. I am reassured that the UK and French Governments are unified in their response to this situation, and both Governments recognise the importance of close partnership and collaboration to reach a long-term solution.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.