With Brexit, children in care are at risk of becoming undocumented, according to associations

They are European and live in the UK, where they have been placed in foster homes or families. Due to Brexit, some of these placed children are now at risk of becoming undocumented alert associations.

“This means that they will not have the right to live in the UK.”, alerts AFP Marianne Lagrue, manager of the Coram Children’s Legal Center association, who comes to their aid. “They will not be able to access free health care, work, receive benefits, rent a home, learn to drive and have a bank account.” They also run the risk, at the age of 18, of being deported from a country where they have often resided for a long time.

Migration rules have been tightened for newcomers from the EU, but those on British soil as of December 31, 2020 can retain their rights, provided they register no later than Wednesday through the “Settlement Plan “.

“It’s simple if you have a job, you can do well with digital technologies, and you have all your documents.”says Azmina Siddique of The Children’s Society. For children in care or young adults who have been, the procedures are much more complex. Some have difficulties proving their identity, providing the required residence documents or obtaining the necessary support for their procedures.

According to the Interior Ministry, 3,660 vulnerable young people (up to 25 years old) were identified as eligible for residency status, and 67% of them had submitted an application by the end of April. A very underestimated figure according to the associations, which evoke up to 9,000 vulnerable young people. Difficult to know their exact number, the nationalities of the children placed are not collected in the UK, where there is no identity card.

The Coram association cites the example of Adam, a 4-year-old Romanian boy born in London and separated from his mother. He is unable to obtain a passport from his embassy (his father, whose consent is required, is unknown) and social workers are struggling to prove his place of residence prior to placement.

The ministry within pledged to support associations and local authorities with a grant of £ 22 million (€ 25.6 million) and to accept late applications if there are “Reasonable reasons”.

Vince Fernandez

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