The government has announced it is to shut down the scheme to bring unaccompanied child refugees to the UK under the ‘Dubs’ amendment.
Immigration minister Robert Goodwill today told MPs 350 children would be transferred under section 67 of the Immigration Act “who reasonably meet the intention and spirit of the provision”.
A total of 200 children have already been transferred from France under the scheme and the government has confirmed the scheme would shut down after a further 150 arrive by the end of March.
Lord Alf Dubs (Lab) introduced the successful amendment to the Immigration Act last year.
It was accepted by the government when a target figure of 3,000 children was replaced by “a specified number” to be determined by government in consultation with local authorities.
Claire Kober, chair of London Councils, called today’s announcement “deeply disappointing”. She said: “Councils in London have stepped up and taken responsibility in this very real humanitarian crisis, with an estimated one in three of the total number of children who arrived in the UK as a result of the Dubs amendment having been settled in the capital already.
“Government must not now turn its back on the situation – there are still many more children in an extremely vulnerable position and we have a responsibility to play our part in helping to alleviate this continuing crisis.”
Responding to the announcement, David Simmonds (Con), chair of the Local Government Association’s asylum, refugee and migration task group, said councils had demonstrated “tremendous leadership” in resettling children from Calais.
He added: “We have long urged government to put in place long-term funding arrangements to ensure that the commitment to support those children starting a new life in the UK is properly funded.
“It is vital that schemes for unaccompanied children are fully aligned, and funded, alongside other existing programmes for resettling refugees, ensuring that councils are able to properly support these vulnerable children while continuing to provide vital services for their local community.”