Fifteen migrants claiming to be children 'were found to be adults'

Fifteen migrants posing as children are ‘found to be adults’ by Kent officials after having their ages reassessed – as people smugglers ‘actively brief them to say they are under 16’

  • The ages of 23 migrants claiming to be underage were assessed- 15 were adults 

Fifteen migrants claiming to be children were reportedly found to be adults by Kent officials after having their ages reassessed.

The discoveries were made between January 2022 and June this year, Freedom of Information Figures revealed. 

During this time, the ages of 23 migrants claiming to be children were assessed – and of these 15 were found to actually be adults. 

MP for Dover Natalie Elphicke warned that grown men posing as underage in schools and children’s care homes could pose a risk. 

She said urgent action is needed for compulsory age checks. 

Border Force officers on bring 50 migrants ashore at Dover Docks earlier this month (file image)

Migrants rescued from a boat crossing the English Channel land on Dungeness Beach in Kent, on August 21, 2023 (file image)

A source told the Sun: ‘Migrants lying about their age has always been an issue, but the smugglers are now actively briefing them to say they are under 16 because they will receive better treatment.

‘They have no documents on them when they arrive in the UK and you can’t physically determine someone’s age.

‘Some countries use dental examinations, but that’s not definitive. How old someone looks depends on their growth rate.’

MailOnline has contacted Kent County Council for further information. 

It comes after the government announced earlier this month that officials will use X-rays and MRI scans to determine the age of asylum seekers falsely claiming to be unaccompanied children.

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. 

A group of people thought to be migrants crossing the Channel in a small boat travelling from the coast of France and heading in the direction of Dover last month (file image)

Migrants’ tents at a camp on the outskirts of the city of Calais, northern France (file image)

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.

Read more: Councils to tell the Government they are ‘full’ and don’t have any room to take extra migrants as they reach ‘breaking point’

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.

Councils are also to tell the Government they are ‘full’ and do not have any room to house any extra migrants while some are already at ‘breaking point’, it was reported yesterday. 

One of Rishi Sunak’s five pledges for this year was to stop boats full of asylum seekers from crossing the English Channel. 

The Illegal Migration Act was described as a ‘vital step’ in stemming the flow when the bill was given Royal Assent in July.

Under the new law, the Government is to set an annual cap on how many asylum seekers it will take in consultation with local councils. 

That consultation must start by October 20, and, with the deadline looming, councils are set to tell the Government they are already ‘full’, reported The Telegraph. 

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