Refugee and unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people

 These pages were developed in partnership with the Child Protection Standing Committee and the Advocacy Committee to support paediatricians in the assessment and management of children and young people of refugee background, with links to key external information and resources.

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General information

 In 2014, there were just over 5000 applications by dependent asylum seeking children less than 18 years in the UK.  The number of applications from unaccompanied children, excluding dependants, was 3,043 in 2015, a 56% increase compared with 2014 (Refugee Council, 2016).

The largest number of applications for unaccompanied asylum seeking children in 2015 was from Eritrea, with 694 applications, and the second largest, Afghanistan, with 656 applications (Refugee Council, 2016).

In 2015, 62% of unaccompanied asylum seeking children were aged between 16 and 17 years, 26%between the ages of 14 and 15, and 8% under 14 years of age, with 4% of children with an unknown age (unrelated to age disputes). 

Although unaccompanied asylum seeking children represent a small percentage of the total number of looked-after children in the UK, it is important that local data on the number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children are captured in annual reports so that services can be adequately commissioned to meet the often complex health care needs of this vulnerable cohort of infants, children and young people.

The Refugee Council publish regular briefings on statistics about refugees and asylum seekers.