Child refugees resort to smugglers for family reunion in UK, new report says

Child refugees are using people smugglers to cross the Channel in small boats to reunite with parents and other close relatives because delays in government family reunion processes are leaving them stranded in danger, The Guardian said citing a new report.

Some children are waiting in conflict zones for applications for refugee family reunions to be processed by the Home Office, while others have fled to neighbouring countries, the report added.

Many wait longer than the Home Office’s target of 12 weeks to process these applications, the report pointed out, confirming that the backlog of family reunion applications in July 2023 was 11,000.

The report from two charities – Refugee Council and Safe Passage International – has called on for a number of changes, such as amending immigration rules to remove the barriers to children joining refugee non-parent adult relatives in the UK.

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