In accordance with the Immigration Act 2016 the Government conducted a comprehensive consultation with local authorities across the UK in order to assess capacity for the care of unaccompanied children. On 13 May 2016, the then Immigration Minister wrote to all local authorities to provide an update on the launch of the National Transfer Scheme (NTS) and to encourage local authorities to participate in all schemes designed for children. On 7 June 2016, the then Immigration Minister, the Minister for Vulnerable Children and Families and the then Minister with responsibility for Syrian Refugees attended a national launch event in London which was attended by local authorities from across the UK. This was followed by regional events in England and in Scotland and Wales.
On 8 September last year, the Immigration Minister wrote to all local authorities in England, Wales and Scotland asking them to confirm how many places they could offer to accommodate unaccompanied asylum seeking children. Home Office officials also maintained an ongoing dialogue with individual local authorities and regional Strategic Migration Partnerships throughout.
This is a voluntary scheme whereby local authorities sign up to accept unaccompanied asylum seeking children on a voluntary basis.
We asked local authorities to consider carefully whether they have the infrastructure and support networks needed to ensure the appropriate care of these unaccompanied children before participating in the NTS.
Our consultation with local authorities indicated that there was capacity for an additional 400 UASC. This is in addition to the unaccompanied children already in local authority care. We estimate that at least 50 of the family reunion cases will require a local authority placement in circumstances where the reunion does not work out.We estimate that at least 50 of the family reunion cases transferred from France as part of the Calais clearance will require a local authority placement in cases where the family reunion does not work out.We estimate that at least 50 of the family reunion cases transferred from France as part of the Calais clearance will require a local authority placement in cases where the family reunion does not work out.
Every region in England is participating in the NTS and we are working very closely with local authorities in Scotland and Wales who have also responded positively.
It is for individual local authorities to decide the number of children they are able to accommodate but we continue to work with those not currently participating in the NTS to support them to do so at the earliest opportunity.