The Home Office and "Age fraud" of asylum seekers -
On 14 January 2022, the Home Office announced new guidance aimed at combatting "age fraud" of asylum seekers. Where previously anyone who appears "over 25" was treated as an adult, now anyone who appears to be over 18, but whose age is indeterminate, will not enjoy the safeguards available to minors.
Even prior to the implementation of this policy, charities said children were frequently placed in adult accommodation and only moved to children's services when lawyers intervene.
On 19 January 2022, two asylum seekers who were wrongly assessed as adults won a victory when the High Court ruled their treatment unlawful. The judge said the policy of detaining young people for an age assessment immediately upon arrival, without an appropriate adult present, breaches the law. The judgment was welcomed by rights groups and charities, including ECRE member the Refugee Council. "We are relieved that the practice of hasty decisions is no longer allowed to continue" said Refugee Council chief executive Enver Solomon. The Home Office said it was disappointed by the decision.