Child asylum seekers will now be able to appeal against refusals in the same way as their adult counterparts, following changes made in the Immigration Act 2014.
Previously, on section of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 meant that people could not appeal against a refusal of asylum where they had been granted leave to enter or remain for a period of 12 months or less.
These rules had a disproportionate impact on unaccompanied children, who when refused asylum are often granted leave until they reach the age of 17 ½. This means that children are regularly granted leave which is shorter than 12 months, leaving them unable to appeal against their asylum refusal.
Normally, asylum seekers who are refused but not granted leave to enter or remain have an automatic right of appeal.
Now, under changes being brought in under the Immigration Act 2014, this legal loop hole will be closed and separated child asylum seekers will automatically have the right to appeal decisions on their claim.
The Refugee Council has been calling for this legal loophole to be closed for many years.
Refugee Council Policy Manager Judith Dennis said: “These changes are good news for separated children. Child asylum seekers are some of the most vulnerable people in Britain, and for too long, the system has treated them disproportionately harshly.
“Decisions on asylum claims can be life or death and it’s vital that unaccompanied children are able to have a fair hearing.”