Online profiles of a migrant brought to Britain from Calais under the child refugee relocation scheme have suggested that the man is 22, not 16 as claimed by the Home Office.
Questions were quickly raised last week when photos of the newly arrived migrants revealed them to have the appearance of adults in their 20s and even 30s, rather than children. Among the first batch of newcomers was Haris Stanikzai, an Afghan living in Calais who claimed to be 16.
Admitted to the UK as his uncle lives in London, Stanikzai claimed that his two younger brothers and two younger sisters had been killed in fighting. But online profiles on LinkedIn and dating sites suggest that he is actually 22, and has completed three years of university in Afghanistan.
Two separate LinkedIn profiles list him as a former accounting and finance student at Jahan University in Kabul between 2013 and 2016. A staff member at the private university confirmed to The Telegraph, when shown a photo, that Stanikzai was a student but said that he had disappeared from the course last year.
Although it is possible to take the course a year early, most students on the course are 21 or 22.
Dating website profiles also suggest Stanikzai is 22, although he claims to have lied about his age to impress girls. He has also denied ever enrolling at Jahan University.
Stanikzai is now living with his uncle, Jan Ghazi, and plans to apply for asylum in the UK within the month. Migrants found to be over 18 can still apply for asylum, but must do so under the adult system.
Defending his nephew, Jan, who works at a pizza takeaway in south London, told the Metro: “I spoke to Haris’s mum, Adela, who is still in Afghanistan, she said to me that he was in the university. But she said that two years ago, he went to one of Jahan’s campuses to go to English classes around two years ago.
“It was a night school. But after two or three lessons, they didn’t let him get admission into those classes because it is not safe to travel through the night.
“That’s the story that his mum told me on the phone. His mum says it was about two years ago.
“The Home Office found his age as 17. They have three hours of interviews, they say he is 17, but from my side, he is less than 17, the reason why this is because you have to convert the UK calendar to the Afghan calendar it is different.
“I believe he is 17 or nearly 17. In Afghanistan we don’t have a genuine certificate to show the year and month.”
Discussing the LinkedIn and dating profiles, Jan said: “He [Hamid] put in his brother’s picture to impress women, because in the family he is the only one who looks nice. A lot of people like his eyes for some reason. This is not unusual in Afghanistan.
“His brother’s social media accounts are all linked in together by one email, so that is why they are all the same. The name might have been a mistake. It might have been a joke.”
Asked whether he would be happy for Haris to have dental checks to prove his age, Jan said: “Absolutely, I would. It is not humane, it will make me more angry and more upset, but if they want obviously, I am not saying no.
“This is something for them, if they want to do it. I’d be willing to put him through that to show he is 16 or 17.”