Over 2,000 ‘Child’ Asylum Seekers in the UK Lied About Their Age to Cheat the System: Report

AT SEA, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 07: Migrants on a small inflatable boat attempt to cross the English Channel near the Dover Strait, the world's busiest shipping lane, on September 07, 2020 off the coast of Dover, England. Last Wednesday, more than 400 migrants made the journey from France to …
Luke Dray/Getty Images

Latest figures from the UK Home Office reveal that over 2,000 supposed asylum seekers lied about their age to immigration officials, pretending to be children to improve their odds of remaining in the country.

Since 2015, the government has investigated 3,755 immigration cases where the age of the migrant was in question. Out of those investigations, some 2,203 asylum seekers were found to be over the age of 18, after previously claiming to be minors.

In reality, the actual number of fraudulent claims from migrants may be higher as cases are not opened against ‘children’ unless they appear to be “significantly” over the age of 18, after which they are age-assessed by local social workers.

A Home Office spokesman told the Daily Mail: “We are fixing our broken asylum system to make it firm and fair. We will seek to stop abuse of the system while ensuring it is compassionate towards those who need our help, welcoming people through safe and legal routes.”

Under the current system in the UK, child refugees fleeing from war, humanitarian crises, or terrorism are provided financial assistance until the age of 25. Those who are over the age of 18 are still afforded government assistance; however, the payments are much lower, incentivising the fraud.

The problem of asylum seekers posing as children was highlighted in October when parents complained that a “child” migrant who “looks 40” joined a school in Coventry, England.

The government has yet to reveal the age of the migrant, but images were shared online appeared to show clear signs of age.

“He’s got a receding hairline for God’s sake,” one parent exclaimed.

The problem is not a new phenomenon. In 2018, a student was pulled from Stoke High School after it was alleged that he was 30 years old rather than 15, as he claimed.

In another notable example, an apparently 38-year-old man fraudulently claimed that he was a child migrant. Left-wing activists falsely claimed that he was working as a language interpreter for other migrants after photos emerged of the man online.

Amidst the record waves of boat migrants crossing the English Channel from France, Kent County Council (KCC) said in August that due to “months of extraordinary demands” they could no longer “safely accommodate” any more migrants claiming to be children.

KCC later revealed that “around 25 per cent” of illegal boat migrants who claim to be children are in fact over the age of 18.

In October, an investigation carried out by the Daily Mail revealed that the council had paid out over £300,000 of British taxpayer money on legal cases against 25 migrants accused of lying about their age.

The investigation found that 13 of the legal cases are ongoing, with the other cases having been thrown out, withdrawn, or settled out of court.

Natalie Elphicke, the MP for Dover, said: “No child or young person should be making the perilous small boat crossings across the English Channel in the first place.”

“Those who deliberately lie about their age in order to play the system should face criminal consequences,” she said, adding that “the French must do more with the tens of millions of pounds paid over by the British taxpayer to protect abandoned migrant children and keep them out of the hands of the trafficking gangs.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on Twitter here: @KurtZindulka

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