Around two-thirds of “child refugees” who were questioned about their age in the UK were revealed to be adults, a government report has found.
In one year, 65 per cent of asylum seekers assessed were judged to be over the age of 18.
The report, by immigration watchdog boss David Bolt, revealed the Home Office received 2,952 asylum applications from unaccompanied children, of which 705 had their age disputed.
Of that, 618 cases were resolved, and 402 of them were found to be adults.
In October 2016, a public row erupted over “child refugees” as a stream of migrants began to arrive from Calais, some of who looked middle-aged.
The government had promised not to accept any new-arrivals from safe countries such as France, but campaigners took advantage of a new loophole in migration law aimed at children known as the Dubs amendment.
Tory MP Tim Loughton told the Daily Mail: “We have been a soft touch in too many cases for asylum seekers who abuse our hospitality by elaborating their credentials.
“It is right we give a safe haven to those who are in danger but too often we have been too trusting.”
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 20, 2016
Since 2006, according to Home Office figures, there have been 12,942 disputes over the age of “child” asylum seekers, with 46 per cent of them (5,965) found to be adults.
Mr. Bolt’s report also said officials were shying away from assessing those claiming to be underage.
Home Office staff “did not feel confident about making initial age assessments of applicants claiming to be children, particularly judging whether the claimant was ‘significantly over 18’ and should be entered into the adult process”.
The document added: “They received no training to help them make such judgments. Some local authorities were concerned that the Home Office applied its ‘benefit of the doubt’ policy too readily, and highlighted the risks of wrongly placing an adult with children in their care.”