undocumented child uk

London’s ‘Lost Boys’: 100,000 Undocumented Children Living in the Capital

New research has found at least 100,000 children are living in London without secure immigration status. This is despite more than half of them being born in the UK.

Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, called these findings a “national disgrace”. Khan commissioned the investigation which unveiled the full scope of the issue, which was undertaken by the University of Wolverhampton.

“It is a national disgrace that there are hundreds of thousands of young Londoners being denied the opportunity of a secure future in our city”

Sadiq Khan, Mayor of London.

Undocumented children come up against a range of problems during their child and adult years. They face problems attaining a drivers’ licence, applying for jobs, renting/buying a house, and opening a bank account. Once an undocumented child hits their 18th birthday, they then face the threat of deportation, often to a country they have never visited.

The study found that there are approximately 107,000 undocumented children living in the capital, along with 26,000 young adults (18-24-year olds).

An ‘undocumented person’ falls under one of several categories. These include people who overstayed their visa/leave to remain in the UK; people who entered without proper documentation and didn’t claim asylum; people who are trafficked to the UK; and people who were born in the UK to parents who were and are undocumented.

…there are approximately 107,000 undocumented children living in the capital…

There are concerns around the UK that the number of undocumented minors could rise hugely once the UK leaves the EU on January 31st, and children who aren’t registered under the EU settlement scheme will lose their right to remain and status.

According to the University of Wolverhampton’s report, the number of undocumented migrant children living in the UK has increased by 56% in the last decade. This rise can be attributed to many factors, but one which is highlighted by the study is the rocketing child British citizenship fees. Currently, an application for citizenship as a child costs £1,012. Though various legal professionals, politicians, and economists have come forward to criticise this, and the high court ruled that the fee was ‘unlawful’ last year, the Home Office has not altered it.

There are concerns around the UK that the number of undocumented minors could rise hugely once the UK leaves the EU…

“It is a national disgrace that there are hundreds of thousands of young Londoners being denied the opportunity of a secure future in our city and living in constant fear of deportation from the government’s hostile immigration policies,” Khan said.

“These young people, many of whom were born in the UK, are often unable to access higher education or work, to rent a home or open a bank account, and these numbers are set to grow dramatically when Britain leaves the EU.”  

Header image credit: https://nypost.com/2019/08/09/cuomo-needs-to-veto-this-bill-that-puts-kids-at-risk/

Written by
Luna Williams
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