Channel migrants will face x-rays and MRI scans to determine their age

Channel migrants will face x-rays and MRI scans to determine their age and stop men from sneaking into Britain posing as children

Officials will use X-rays and MRI scans to determine the age of asylum seekers falsely claiming to be unaccompanied children, the Government announced today. 

MRIs of knees and collar bones could be used to check people arriving across the Channel in small boats along with X-rays of teeth, hands and wrists. 

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick wants to introduce scientific tests to determine the ages of arrivals as part of a package of measures being put before Parliament.  

Under the planned new laws, anyone who refuses a scientific age assessment could have this count against them when their asylum claims are considered. 

Similarly, failure to produce ID or provide passwords to phones could also hinder an asylum application. 

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick – seen today – wants to introduce scientific tests to check the ages of migrants claiming to be unaccompanied children 

Age tests are used in many European countries but some campaigners and medical professionals have questioned their reliability.

‘Age assessment is an important process to help prevent asylum seeking adults posing as children as a way of accessing support they are not entitled to, and allow genuine children to access age-appropriate services,’ the Home Office said.

Between 2016 and June 2023, there were over 11,275 asylum cases where age was disputed and almost half of the individuals (5,551) were found to be adults, it noted.

READ MORE – Discontent over the government’s handling of immigration reaches its highest level since 2015 

More than 23,000 migrants have now crossed the English Channel in small boats so far this year, according to official figures.

It comes after 1,034 people were rescued in 18 dinghies in just three days from Friday to Sunday during the September heatwave before being brought ashore in Dover, sending the total for this year to 23,103. 

Images show young male asylum seekers queuing on Monday to go into the Atrium Hotel in Feltham next to London Heathrow. Numerous former hotels have been taken over by the Home Office to house asylum seekers.

On Saturday, 425 people crossed in seven boats, suggesting an average of around 61 people per vessel. 

On Sunday, six inflatables carrying 389 passengers arrived in temperatures of above 30C, with an even higher average of around 65 people in each dinghy. 

Crossings continued on Monday, marking the 10th consecutive day of arrivals amid a spell of warm weather.

It comes as a new survey revealed dissatisfaction over the Government’s handling of immigration is at its highest level since before the Brexit vote. 

Border Force officers bring a group of migrants ashore at Dover this afternoon 

Migrants seen being brought ashore at Dover this afternoon after crossing the Channel 

Two-thirds (66%) of those questioned across England, Scotland and Wales said they are dissatisfied with the way politicians in charge are dealing with the issue, the Immigration Attitudes Tracker survey suggested.

The level is the highest it has been since 2015 when the survey began, and the latest figure is up from a low of 41% in 2020.

Among Conservative supporters, 56% are dissatisfied while just over a fifth (22%) said they are satisfied with the Government’s handling of the issue, while among Labour supporters almost three-quarters (73%) are dissatisfied while 8% are satisfied.

For 82% of dissatisfied Conservative supporters, ‘not doing enough to stop Channel migrant crossings’ is cited as being their main reason why.

Last week, Labour accused the Prime Minister of having ‘failed to get a grip’ on the issue as the milestone of 20,000 crossings in 2023 to date was reached.

But Rishi Sunak continued to defend his ‘stop the boats’ plan and insisted the Government is making progress and its efforts are ‘working’.

Rishi Sunak – seen in India this week – has claimed the government is making ‘progress’ in its bid to tackle illegal immigration 

Sunder Katwala, director of British Future, said: ‘The Government’s approach to immigration, particularly asylum and small boats, is disappointing everyone – but for different reasons.

‘Liberals think it is inhumane, while hardliners think it isn’t achieving what has been promised. What they all have in common is the feeling that the Government isn’t doing a good job.

‘Attitudes to immigration are nuanced but the sharp divide along party political lines means we should expect a noisier, more heated immigration debate as Britain heads towards a general election.

‘But politicians won’t rebuild public trust by raising the volume of the debate – that will take workable solutions, particularly on asylum, that balance control and compassion.’

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