Agenda item

Agenda item

Responding to the Needs of Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) and the Children of Manchester who are Affected by the European Union Settled Status Scheme

Report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services


This report summarises the offer and outcomes being achieved in relation to our children who are affected by European Union Settled Status (EUSS), Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) and all children in our care who are not British Nationals.


The Committee received a report of the Strategic Director of Children and Education Services which summarised the offer and outcomes being achieved in relation to Our Children (Looked After Children) who were affected by European Union Settled Status (EUSS), Unaccompanied Asylum-Seeking Children (UASC) and all children in care who were not British Nationals.


Officers referred to the main points and themes within the report, which included:


·         Health needs of UASC;

·         Education of UASC;

·         Managing risk;

·         Accommodation for UASC;

·         Leaving care;

·         European Union Settled Status (EUSS) Scheme; and

·         Our Children who were not British Nationals.


Amanda Shah from the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) welcomed the pledge that the Council had made 2020 to all children in care and care leavers in Manchester affected by Brexit immigration changes and the work which had taken place to support these young people, which she advised had provided a positive model for other local authorities.  She emphasised the need to support young people who did not meet the deadline for the EUSS Scheme in June 2021 and would be in the UK illegally from 1 July 2021.  She highlighted the section in her report, appended to the main report, which suggested the following update to the pledge:


‘To our children in care and care leavers, learning from our support to children and young people affected by Brexit immigration changes, we will:


·         Identify all our looked after children and care leavers with insecure immigration status

·         Commission legal advice so they can be supported to make the most appropriate immigration applications and challenge immigration refusals

·         Support those who are eligible to apply for British citizenship

·         Continue to provide access to leaving care services’


The Executive Member for Children and Schools thanked Ms Shah and Council officers for their work.  He emphasised the need to prioritise young people who had been refused settled status.  He supported the proposed updated pledge and embedding thinking about immigration status in permanence planning for young people.


Some of the key points and themes that arose from the Committee’s discussions were:


·         Support for the proposed update to the pledge;

·         Concern for the children who did not meet the deadline for the EUSS Scheme and to welcome the work to support them;

·         That Members should campaign on this issue;

·         Waiting times for Home Office decisions on young people’s immigration status;

·         Reasons for young people’s immigration applications being declined;

·         To note the important role foster carers were playing in supporting these children and young people; and

·         How Ward Councillors could find out about cases in their ward and intervene to support young people’s immigration cases.


The Strategic Director of Children and Education Services advised that there were confidentiality issues in sharing personal information about young people with Ward Councillors but that young people could be made aware of Ward Councillors as a source of advocacy support.


Amanda Shahexplained that a lot of the delays in relation to the EUSS Scheme were in getting to the point of submitting an application because the way it was set up made it difficult for children with disrupted life histories, and this was exacerbated by the pandemic.  She advised that young people could be rejected on the grounds of eligibility or suitability, the latter relating to youth offending.  She informed the Committee that the GMIAU was about to produce a report on the situation for UASC in Manchester and the delays in decisions on their cases due to the pandemic.  She welcomed that it appeared that a move to remote interviewing for their asylum claims would be taking place as she advised that delays for these young people had had a serious negative effect on them, particularly on their mental health.  In response to a Member’s question, the Service Lead outlined how mental health support was provided to young people supported by her service, in partnership with Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).  She also outlined how young people were supported through life story work, work to enable them to get a basic understanding of the legal process and structures in place in the UK and help to find family members around the world.




1.            To support the updated pledge outlined in the appendix to the report.


2.            To note that Members of the Committee will campaign for the interests of these young people, supporting them through both their Council work and their political work.

Supporting documents: