New Report Highlights Plight of Irregular Migrant Children in UK

15 May, 2012

An estimated 120,000 children living in the UK without legal immigration status are at risk of destitution, exploitation and social exclusion, according to a new report by Dr Nando Sigona of ODID and Vanessa Hughes.

According to the report, "No Way Out, No Way In: Irregular Migrant Children and Families in the UK", contradictory and frequently changing rules and regulations jeopardise the access of these children to healthcare, education, protection by the police and other public services.

The report shows that irregular migrant children – more than half of whom were born in the UK and have lived here their entire lives – are being trapped between laws protecting children and the enforcement of migration control.

"Current immigration policy seems to override the concern for children’s rights," said Dr Sigona. "Nobody, not the public, nor the children or their families, benefits from this".

The study was carried out by a research team led by Dr Sigona at the ESRC Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS). It was funded by the Barrow Cadbury Trust and was part of a comparative research project in collaboration with the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) at Georgetown University (USA).

The research team conducted their qualitative study over two years, interviewing 49 irregular migrant families from Jamaica, Afghanistan, China, Brazil, Nigeria and ethnic Kurds reaching in total over 100 minors. They also carried out 30 interviews with public service providers (teachers and GPs), local authorities, policy makers and support organisations.

Read more about the report.