The Home Office has set up a team to check the real ages of “child” migrants from Albania amid fears that their carers, and schools, are being put in danger.
The behaviour of so-called unaccompanied minors from Albania, nearly 500 of whom sneaked into the UK illegally last year, has raised fears with youths having to be removed from schools and foster families over appalling behaviour and suspicions regarding their age.
Documents from Croydon Council show that head teachers are having to take “disciplinary measures” against Albanians that they fear are adults. Some schools have rejected alleged unaccompanied minors altogether, suspecting them to be older than they claim.
A committee report from the beginning of this year said: “There also continues to be concerns around the age of some of this cohort as evidenced by their behaviours and attitudes which are resulting in schools following disciplinary processes.”
Documents seen by the Mail on Sunday also revealed social services have been forced to remove Albanians who claim to be children from foster families. A paper from July last year reported problems with “behaviour towards female carers”.
Social workers explained that the behaviour, which apparently led to a “breakdown of placements” in the area as a result, was due to the “gender assumptions of Albanian males”.
As “the largest ethnic group in the Youth Offending System” officials said Albanians have been involved in “a variety offences”. The status of unaccompanied minor allows migrants entitlement to a foster family, school place and support up to the age of 25.
Nearly 500 Albanians sneaked into Britain last year to claim asylum from the safe Balkan country which is set to join the European Union. Britain’s Home Office has established a taskforce to check the age and family backgrounds of migrants rejected by the asylum system.
MP for Croydon, where asylum claims are processed, Chris Philp called for more rigorous checks on so-called child migrants.
“I am aware of problems with people who end up in foster homes and placed in schools when they’re clearly not 18.
“It puts strain on resources, causing disruption and there are also safety issues,” the Tory MP told the Mail on Sunday.
The Association of Directors of Children’s Services said that in 2015 a total of 789 “complex and time consuming” age disputes were carried and, where “around two-thirds were considered to be over 18”.
Fears were raised that adult migrants are posing as children to gain entry to the UK after it emerged that a shocking 65 per cent of alleged “unaccompanied minors” were found to be over 18 according to Home Office figures collected in the year to September 2015.
Councils have warned that Britons could face council tax hikes as a result of the influx of so-called child migrants campaigners have pressured the government into taking, with taxpayers alerted that the true cost of housing each “unaccompanied minor” will be £133,000 per year.
Chairman of the Local Government Association’s asylum, refugee, and migration task group, David Simmonds,asked: “How are the public going to feel if in a year’s time we are saying sorry we have got to close the library or close children’s centres because we have taken in refugee children and the Government is not willing to pay for it?”