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Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual Nottingham City Safeguarding Children’s Board Procedures Manual
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4.1.2 Unaccompanied Migrant Children and Child Victims of Trafficking and Modern Slavery


Regional Guidance to closing missing UASC cases in the East Midlands

Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery

Statutory Guidance Modern Slavery: How to Identify and Support Victims


This chapter will continue to be updated as UK immigration legislation continues to change following the UK's exit from the EU.


In November 2021, the chapter was amended as the Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review, statutory guidance has been updated. This makes changes in relation to the prohibition on placements of children under 16 in 'other arrangements' (previously known as 'unregulated accommodation'),


  1. Introduction
  2. Definitions
  3. Purpose
  4. Principals
  5. The Status of Children who Arrive from Abroad and Legal Duties Towards Them
  6. Identification and Initial Action
  7. Age Assessment Process
  8. Delays for Making a Claim for Asylum
  9. Parental Responsibility
  10. Provision of Service
  11. Refusal of Services
  12. Pathway Plan
  13. Education and Training
  14. Missing Unaccompanied Children
  15. Review of Services
  16. Withdrawal of a Service
  17. Transition at 18
  18. Failed Asylum Seekers – 18+ Requiring Local Authority Support

1. Introduction

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) may be amongst the most traumatised vulnerable children known to Children’s Social Care. Some may have witnessed the death of family members and may be entirely alone. Others may come from countries where the rule of law has broken and where survival depends on trusting only immediate family. Most will have had long and tortuous journeys to this country suffering significant hardship on route. Such experiences mean that they will need time, space and help to begin to rebuilt their lives.

In all such referrals, the Procedures in relation to Children’s Assessment will apply.

Where a young unaccompanied asylum seeker becomes Looked After, the procedures in this manual relating to Looked After Children apply. Independent Reviewing Officers need to be aware of local authority duties to take regard of the child’s needs as an unaccompanied or trafficked child when planning and providing for care. They must also have an awareness of the particular needs and issues children may face as a result of being an unaccompanied or trafficked child so that they can provide appropriate challenge at review. Foster or residential care providers need to be aware of appropriate steps to reduce the risk of trafficked children returning to their traffickers.

2. Definitions


The United Nations Geneva Convention of 1951 has defined refugee as:

“any person who owing to a well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality and is unable, or owing to such fear is unwilling to avail himself to the protection of that country; or who not having a nationality and being outside the country of his habitual residence, is unable or owing to such fear unwilling to return to it ".

Asylum Seeker

The term Asylum Seeker is used to describe a person who claims that they would be subject to persecution or serious harm if they were returned to their country of origin and they have lodged a claim for asylum with the UKVI as a refugee and are awaiting a decision. This clearly differs from the definition of an economic migrant as someone who has left their homeland to find work and hopefully a better standard of living than in their own country.

Unaccompanied Children

The UN High Commissioner for Children defines unaccompanied children as:

‘Those who are separated from both parents and are not being cared for by an adult who, by law or custom, has the responsibility to do so.’ UNHCR (1994) Refugee Children: Guidelines of protection and care.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child (UASC)

The UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) defines a UASC as a person who, at the time of making the asylum application:

  • Is, or (if there is no documentary evidence) appears to be, under 18;
  • Is applying for asylum in his or her own right;
  • Is fleeing persecution from their own country; and
  • Has no adult relative or guardian to turn to in this country.

Common Reasons Children Seek Asylum

‘Food, Shelter and Half a Chance’ (BAAF 2001) advised that ‘the following are some of the most common reasons why children seek asylum:

  • Forced recruitment into military service;
  • The death of parents or parents’ inability to care for their children (as a result of conflict in the region);
  • Forced re-education;
  • Prohibition from participating, or being forced to participate, in religious activities;
  • Being forced to give information about the activities of a group or members of their family;
  • Pressures to denounce family members;
  • Involvement/non-involvement in political groups.

3. Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to provide information, advice and guidance to social workers and other professionals working with newly arrived unaccompanied asylum seeking children and young people.

It sets out best practice for staff assisting UASC to obtain services and guidance regarding those who become looked after by Nottingham City Council and who remain our responsibility as they make the transition into adulthood. It also gives staff an overview of the immigration process.

(It should be read in conjunction with the Looked After Children and Leaving Care Policies).

4. Principals

In all cases where a referral is received concerning an unaccompanied young asylum-seeker, the relevant Team will carry out an Assessment in accordance with the Assessment Procedure, to determine whether he or she is a Child in Need. The Assessment will take account of:

  1. The immigration status of the young person,
  2. The young person's accommodation arrangements and needs,
  3. The young person's local connection with the local authority area,
  4. The young person's financial and other support,
  5. The young person's ethnicity and religion, and
  6. The age assessment of the young person (where relevant) and any available information on their agent, their access into this country, the length of time they have been in this country and possible other connections; and
  7. Any particular psychological or emotional impact of experiences as an unaccompanied or trafficked child, and any consequent need for psychological or mental health support to help the child deal with them;
  8. Any issues that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery. In such cases a referral should be made to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM)
  9. Refer into national mechanism if applicable. There is no minimum requirement for justifying a referral into the NRM and consent is not required for children. Communicate honestly with the child about your concerns and reasons for referring them into the NRM.
  10. To complete and see where to send the forms, and the associated guidance, visit National Referral Mechanism Digital Referral System: Report Modern Slavery.

In determining an unaccompanied young person's accommodation needs, the Children’s Assessment must have regard to his or her age and independent living skills, and consider the intensity of service required. This may range between independent accommodation, semi-independent accommodation and foster placements.

An interpreter will be used to assist in all assessments.

The caseworker must complete a Children's Assessment Record in all cases.

The child should be offered an Independent Visitor and, if they decline, their reasons should be recorded. Any Independent Visitor appointed should have appropriate training and demonstrate an understanding of the needs faced by unaccompanied or trafficked children.

In addition, unaccompanied children should be informed of the availability of the Assisted Voluntary Return Scheme.

5. The Status of Children who Arrive from Abroad and Legal Duties Towards Them

Nottingham City Council Children’s Social Care holds responsibility for an UASC if:

  • They enter the country via air or seaport and the place that they first set down is within Nottingham City boundaries. (Most arrive by lorry and are dropped off at an industrial estate);
  • They present first in Nottingham as an ‘in country applicant’, Enquiries should be made with both the Police and UKVI to establish whether or not the UASC is known to or has presented to another LA or is a third-country applicant;
  • Young people with extended family and friends in this country may not be regarded as unaccompanied; however the LA may have duties arising pursuant to the Children (Private Arrangements for Fostering) Regulations 2005;
  • They are resident in another part of the country and Nottingham City Council retains its responsibility to support;
  • Dublin 3 reunifications.

The local authority is restricted by legislation in what it can provide in terms of assistance and support for different categories of children/families who arrive in the UK. Children who arrive in the UK with their parents who are European Economic nationals (EEA) cannot be supported by Children’s Services. The Home Office allows for limited forms of assistance to be given by local authorities to some families and this could be in the form of:

  • Travel assistance to leave the UK to people with dependents under 18 years;
  • Temporary accommodation to people with dependents under 18 years awaiting the implementation of their travel arrangements;
  • Temporary accommodation to people with dependents under 18 who are awaiting instructions for removal.

However, the local authority still has the following duties towards all children, young people and families regardless of their status:

  • To carry out a Child in Need Assessment for all children under 18 years old who are in families, where there may be concerns about a child/children's welfare and/or safety under the Children Act 1989;
  • To carry out a Child in Need Assessment for all 'separated' children under the age of 18 and to provide them with services in line with needs identified under the Children Act 1989 (including any issues that may indicate that the child is or has been trafficked or a victim of compulsory labour, servitude and slavery);

The Hillingdon Judgement

The Hillingdon judgement established that Section 17 of the Children Act should not routinely be used to meet the accommodation and support needs of unaccompanied asylum seeking children, in particular the 16+ age group.

Pursuant to the Hillingdon Judgement and LAC 13 (2003) the following principles will apply:

  • All UASC should, on presentation to the responsible LA, be supported under S20 of the Children Act 1989, until assessment of needs has been completed. There is a presumption that all UASC will fall within the scope of S.20 and become looked after, unless the needs assessment reveals factors which would suggest that an alternative response would be more appropriate;
  • Based on assessed need, most UASC, including 16 and 17 year olds who require accommodation, should be provided with support under S20 Children Act;
  • The majority of UASC will be entitled to leaving care services if they have been accommodated from the age of 14 for at least 13 weeks before their 18th birthday;
  • If not accommodated under Section 20: Young People are not entitled to care leaver status;
  • S17 can be used to support UASC in exceptional circumstances, where an assessment of needs identifies that to become looked after would not be in the young person’s best interests - for example, if the young person strongly expresses aversion to becoming looked after - this will require approval from a Service Manager.

Whilst deciding which section of the Children Act 1989 provides the appropriate legal basis for provision of help or support to a child in need, a Local Authority should undertake an assessment in accordance with statutory guidance, which should also take into account the wishes and feelings of the child as the basis for any decision about whether he/she should be provided with accommodation under section 20 or 17. However, any expressed wish by a child is to be considered in the light of that child’s age and understanding in order to comply with Section 20(6) (b) and the Local Authority has judged them to be competent to make that wish.

In addition, any expressed wish by a child to be assisted under Section 17 must be contingent on their being informed of the distinction between being assisted under Section 17 or accommodated under Section 20, and the consequences of such a choice for their entitlement to support after reaching the age of 18 years. If the unaccompanied child is not informed of the full implications of expressing such a wish, informed consent to being “de-accommodated”, cannot be said to have been lawfully given and will be open to challenge by means of judicial review.

This informed consent is a necessary pre-requisite to any assessment of whether the unaccompanied child is competent to look after him or herself. Additional competency in an unaccompanied child’s ability to cook, clean, travel on public transport or speak English is not sufficient on its own. Their competency must also be considered in the context of the fact that his/her entitlement to be accommodated under Section 20(1)(a) will not come to an end until they reach the age of 18 years or a person with parental responsibility for them enters the UK.

Special Grant Application for UASC

Children’s Social Care are able to claim each year for an element of the cost of services provided to each child. The Home Office administers this grant and guidance is issued each year to local authorities advising them on how to claim. The grant is payable for services provided under Section 17 of the Children Act 1989, or for those looked after under Section 20 of the Children Act 1989.

In order to claim the grant Finance require details held on Home Office documentation, especially the Home Office reference number, and those obtained during the individual’s claim for asylum. Any revisions to the claim information must be processed through the UKVI, and finance must be notified. Changes to the date of birth can cause particular problems.

Fair Access to Services

The Social Worker will, at the outset, need to be clear about his/her role and that of the department and establish with the young person that she/he is not an immigration official.

It will be desirable to have information available translated into the young person’s first language. The Social Worker should prior to any interview, determine what translated material is immediately available. Assessments, planning meetings, reviews and CLA visits should always take place with an interpreter, except in circumstances where it is clear that the young person has a sophisticated use of and understanding of English or where the Social Worker is fluent in the young person’s first language. It is not appropriate to use a friend, family member or carer as an interpreter. Social Workers should seek to establish the first language and dialect if applicable, of a young person rather than making an assumption based on the country of origin and should also seek to establish whether there may be issues arising from the ethnic/religious/cultural/political group to which the interpreter belongs. The interpreter should be briefed prior to the interview as to its content and purpose and intended outcomes e.g. to determine a suitable placement.

6. Identification and Initial Action

Whenever any professional becomes aware of a child who they believe has recently moved into this country, the following basic information should be sought:

  • Confirmation of the child's identity and immigration status;
  • Confirmation of the child's health and education arrangements in this country.

The immigration status of a child and his/her family has implications for the statutory responsibilities towards the family. It governs what help, if any, can be provided to the family and how help can be offered to the child.

A child/young person may present to Children’s Social Care. They cannot make an asylum application to Children’s Social Care but must be assisted to approach the Immigration Service or Police to do this. The Duty Team will immediately advise the UK Border Agency using the information sharing proforma.

Where a UASC is identified, they will be referred to the Duty Team in the first instance for a Childrens Assessment. All details will be added to Liquid Logic and it is very important that the young persons status of being an Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Child is inputted into Liquid Logic too. Age assessment will only occur where there is dispute as to the stated age of the young person.

Following the Childrens Assessment, where a UASC is identified and deemed by age assessment (where required) as being under 18 years of age they will be referred to the CIC team. The initial screening interview will be booked by the Duty Team and shared upon transfer of the case.


If a placement has been made in an emergency, on the next working day consideration should be given to finding a more suitable placement where necessary. The Department will strive to match the assessed or perceived needs of the young person in one of the following ways:

  • Reunification with family or friends living in the UK providing the appropriate safeguarding checks regarding risk and suitability of the placement are carried out. This action should be recorded;
  • Accommodation under S20 in a suitable placement in accordance with their age and assessed needs;
  • In very exceptional circumstances, children over the age of 16 may be supported under S17, for example if they are assessed as Gillick competent and decline Section 20 services. This decision must be endorsed by the Head of Service. (N.B. If they are granted refugee status or have Discretionary Leave, or have an in-time application for further leave, they are entitled to benefits).

7. Age Assessment Process

Care of unaccompanied migrant children and child victims of modern slavery (2017) provides that where the age of a person is uncertain and there are reasons to believe that they are a child, they are presumed to be a child in order to receive immediate access to assistance, support and protection in accordance with Article 10(3) of the European Convention on action Against Trafficking in Human Beings. Age assessments should only be carried out where there is significant reason to doubt that the claimant is a child. Age assessments should not be a routine part of a local authority’s assessment of unaccompanied or trafficked children. Where age assessments are conducted, they must be Merton Compliant.

The assessment of age is a complex task, which usually involves a face-to-face meeting and often relies on professional judgement and discretion. Such assessment may be compounded by issues of disability. Some young people may genuinely not know their age and this can be misread as lack of co-operation. Levels of competence in some areas or tasks may exceed or fall short of our expectations of a child of the same age in this country.

The ADCS Asylum Task Force has worked with the Home Office to provide a set of jointly agreed “good practice documents”, which can be found here. These documents are offered as practice guidance, by way of assistance to local authorities and their partners. The use of the proforma and consent form is voluntary. The content does not, nor does it seek to, be binding on local authorities. It is simply a recommended approach.

The reasons for the conclusion of the assessment must be explained to the young person, their response recorded and any amendments to the conclusion recorded.

If the conclusion is that the young person is considered to be over 18, they will not be considered as a Child in Care and will be referred to UK Visas and Immigration for support.

Any young person assessed as being under the age of 18 will remain a Child in Care and will be entitled to the same services as all other Children in Care.

Unaccompanied asylum seeking children will be encouraged to be involved in Education, Training and Employment, and as Care Leavers, NRPF will be entitled to financial support in line Looked After Children aged 16 and over and for young people leaving care.

8. Making a Claim for Asylum

Asylum Claim should be made within 14 days of arrival; Independent legal advice should be sort on their behalf from their Social Worker.

Making an initial asylum claim may be legitimately delayed for:

  • Health reasons (the Home Office will not for example meet a young person who has scabies);
  • Delays with age assessment;
  • Home Office delays.

Local Authority staff shortages or illness are not considered a valid reason for the claim to be delayed.

Therefore, if a young person is not able to claim asylum within the first two weeks of being looked after by Nottingham City Council the allocated worker must:

  • Notify line manager of the delay and reasons;
  • Ensure information is shared with the UK Border Agency using the proforma;
  • Request written Home Office agreement that they will pay the Young Person’s support costs from date of arrival;
  • Log any cancelled Home Office visits or reasons for delay in case notes/Chronology.

9. Parental Responsibility 

The Children Act 1989 defines the concept of "Parental Responsibility". This legal framework provides the starting point for considering who has established responsibility and duties towards a child.

In some cultures child rearing is a shared responsibility between relatives and members of the community. Adults may bring children to this country whom they have cared for most of their lives, but who may be unrelated or "distantly" related.

An adult whose own immigration status is unresolved cannot apply for a Child Arrangements Order to secure a child for whom he/she is caring.

Children whose parents' whereabouts are not known have no access to their parents for consent when making important choices about their life. Whilst their parents still have parental responsibility, they have no way of exercising it.

Children who do not have someone with parental responsibility caring for them can still attend school, and schools are strongly encouraged to be pragmatic in allowing the carer to make most decisions normally made by the parent.

Such children are entitled to health care and have a right to be registered with a GP. If there are difficulties in accessing a GP, the CCG should be contacted to assist.

Emergency life-saving treatment would be given if required. However, should the child need medical treatment such as surgery or invasive treatment in a non-life-threatening situation, the need for consent would become an issue and legal advice would be required.

Children’s Services have statutory duties where the child is Privately Fostered. (See Private Fostering Procedure).

Some carers/parents are eligible to claim benefits for their child but this is dependent upon immigration status.

10. Provision of Services

Where a Referral/Children’s Assessment identifies that a young unaccompanied asylum seeker is in need of services, the young person should be provided with information about the services available to them from the local authority and other agencies.

The young person will also be given assistance to register with a GP and dentist, and enrol in a local school or college. An interpreter should be booked to accompany the young person to appointments with the GP, where necessary.

Where a young person's needs are for independent or semi-independent accommodation, and the manager agrees, assistance should be given with completion of the necessary Housing Application.

Where the Children’s Assessment identifies that an unaccompanied young asylum-seeker needs to be Looked After, all the procedures in relation to Care Plans, Health Care Plans, Personal Education Plans and Placement Information Records must be completed.

All unaccompanied young asylum-seekers who are eligible for a service will be entitled to financial assistance, which must first be authorised by the manager. The social worker should arrange for payment of the relevant amounts in accordance with the local authority's detailed financial procedures.

The Children Act 1989 Guidance and Regulations - Volume 2: Care Planning, Placement and Case Review, statutory guidance has been updated. This makes changes in relation to the prohibition on placements of children under 16 in 'other arrangements' (previously known as 'unregulated accommodation'), in line with Regulation 27A Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) Regulations 2010 (as amended by Care Planning, Placement and Case Review (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2021).

Travel cards or warrants will be issued to young unaccompanied asylum-seekers in relation to appointments at the Home Office.

11. Refusal of Services

A family or young person may be refused a service where, for example:

  • There is an age dispute following an assessment an unaccompanied young asylum-seeker, is over the age of 18 following age assessment.

Where a Children's Assessment identifies that a young unaccompanied asylum-seeker does not meet the criteria for a service from Children's Services, but appears to be in need of services from elsewhere, the Social Worker will refer the young person to the appropriate agency which may be a different Children's Services, the Refugee Forum, the UK Visas and Immigration and/or an appropriate voluntary agency.

In such circumstances, the Social Worker should make an appointment for the young person and advise him or her of the name, address (including a map where necessary) and contact number of the person with whom the appointment has been made. In addition, the duty worker must send a copy of the Referral Form and Children's Assessment Record to the relevant office.

In all cases where a service is to be refused, the Social Worker must consult his or her manager before the decision is made and the letter confirming the decision is sent. Any correspondence received in relation to the decision should be referred to the manager.

12. Pathway Plan

Where the young person is over 15 ¾ years a Pathway Plan replaces a Care Plan. The Pathway Plan focuses on preparing the young person for independent living at 18 years. It will be completed by the 16th birthday or within three months of becoming Looked After and is renewed every six months. (See also Looked After Reviews Procedure).

13. Education and Training

Local Authorities have a legal duty to ensure education is available for all children of compulsory school age in the area, appropriate to their age, abilities and aptitudes and any special educational needs they may have. This duty applies irrespective of a child’s immigration status or rights of residence in a particular location; therefore, this includes children from asylum seeking and refugee backgrounds.

Schools receive funding for asylum seeking children and refugees in the same way as they do for all other children on the school roll. UASC can also benefit from two grants, which are available to all Local Authorities, The Vulnerable Children’s Grant and the Ethnic Minority Achievement Grant.

With reference to The Code of Practice on School Admissions; in the case of over subscription to a school, UASC who are looked after will be given priority over other children in the same way as any other looked after child.

The Personal Education Plan (PEP) should be completed by the first CIC review. At the CIC review the young person should be made aware of the educational opportunities and requirements in the UK as the structure may differ significantly from that of their home country, for example the legal requirement for full time education until the age of 16.

The PEP should:

  • Be made with the assumption that the young person will gain refugee status;
  • Assess the young person’s previous educational experience and abilities;
  • Consider the need for a sufficient level of English for Speakers of Other Language (ESOL) provision, and further language support in core subjects;
  • Consider whether the young person is likely to integrate better into school or college provision;
  • Outline a suitable induction into the school or college to prepare the young person for the routine of the school day and the content of the curriculum address the possibility of encountering racism and bullying identify and explain support networks within the school/college, prepare the class for the arrival of the young person make teachers aware of the young person’s circumstances and needs make contact with the SEN coordinator;
  • Encourage the young person, with the support of the school/college, to continue to use their mother tongue in the learning environment where possible, for example in note taking, if literate, and in completion and discussion of tasks, to assist them to maintain their own language and identity while learning written and spoken English;
  • Identify an appropriate school or college placement as soon as possible.

14. Missing Unaccompanied Children    

UASC who go missing are vulnerable to ‘people traffickers’. They are often targeted, recruited or coerced into the sex industry or the ‘slave trade’ (indentured service). They should be viewed as at risk, and continuing efforts should be made to protect them and their family of origin, who may still be in the country of origin. This requires a specific S47 investigation, a strategy meeting with the Police and agreement about how to proceed.

When any young person goes missing, the Police must be contacted and all available information given that may lead to the child or young person being recovered.

UKVI must also be informed as they hold a current photograph and finger print record. Details of the missing young person will be posted on the UASC Index.

UASC have the same rights as other LAC who are missing children. The case must not be closed until the missing young person’s whereabouts is known, they have been recovered, or they reach the age of 21, whichever is sooner. As in the Care Leaving Care Act 2000, the Leaving Care team must make every effort to re-engage the young person until they are 21. This may be extended to 25, based on assessment of need.

Childrens Services should advise the young Persons Solicitor. When a missing young person is located, they remain the responsibility of the local authority that first provided them with services. Action must be taken to recover them to an environment that meets their needs for support and protection. The UKVI must be informed without delay

In the event that a UASC goes missing, the procedure for missing should be followed and the episode recorded on LCS. For UASC these additional steps should be taken;

  • Children’s Services should register that the child has gone missing with the Home Office so that checks can be subsequently made should they present in a different Local Authority or subsequently in another jurisdiction;
  • Children’s Services should notify the young person’s immigration and asylum solicitor if one has been appointed;
  • Where a young person goes missing immediately after arrival they will continue to be allocated to a Social Worker up and until the first CLA Review, who will do all the co-ordinating necessary to seek to find the young person;
  • Where a missing episode becomes extended after 28 days, the case will continue to be allocated to a social worker. The young person will continue to be reviewed which will act as the mechanism to check with police/Home Office about whether there have been any developments with finding the young person. These checks and any developments will be recorded as a Case Note and in the CIC review report on the young person’s Liquid Logic record. This will be the activity on the case until the young person would have become a Care Leaver at 18. Post-18 the normal “in-touch” reporting will be the mechanism for reviewing whether there have been any developments in finding the young person.

15. Review of Services

Where a young person is Looked After, his or her case will be reviewed in accordance with the Looked After Review Procedure.

Any other services provided should be reviewed at least every 6 months as set out in the Child in Need Plans and Review Procedure.

The young person should be invited to the Review and an interpreter should be booked as necessary by the allocated Social Worker.

Where additional support services are identified as necessary, the Plan should be updated to reflect this.

16. Withdrawal of a Service

The provision of a service is dependent on the young person continuing to qualify for the service. Services to an unaccompanied young person may be withdrawn, for example:

The service should not be withdrawn without the agreement of the social worker's manager. Any such decision must be clearly recorded, with reasons. In some cases, legal advice should be considered before a final decision is made.

17. Transition at 18

Where the young person is Looked After, the case will remain with the Leaving Care Service on the young person's 18th birthday and the Leaving Care Team will be responsible for implementing the procedures in relation to Eligible Young People and Relevant Young People, as appropriate, in accordance with Leaving Care Procedure.

Pathway planning should address any additional needs arising from the young person’s immigration issues.

Planning may have to be based around short-term achievable goals whilst entitlement to remain in the UK is being determined. For the majority of unaccompanied children who do not have permanent immigration status, transition planning should initially take a dual or triple planning perspective, which, over time should be refined as the young person’s immigration status is resolved. Planning cannot pre-empt the outcome of any immigration decision and may be based on:

  • A transitional plan during the period of uncertainty when the care leaver is in the UK without permanent immigration status;
  • A longer-term perspective plan should the care leaver be granted long-term permission to stay in the UK (for example through the grant of Refugee Status); and
  • A return to their country of origin at any appropriate point or at the end of the immigration consideration process, should that be necessary because the care leaver decides to leave the UK or is required to do so.

Assistance should be given in advance of their 18th birthday with the necessary applications for housing, Housing Benefit and any other relevant benefits. The Personal Advisor must ensure that the young person has accommodation to which to move on his or her 18th birthday. The Social Worker or Personal Advisor must also ensure that the provider of the young person's present accommodation and the Placement Service is informed when the accommodation arrangement will end.

Ascertaining Immigration Status

Local Authority Communications Team provides case status information to all designated Local Authorities regarding UASC and those former UASC who have entered the Leaving Care System. To access status checks on UASC/former UASC the allocated Personal Advisor must make their request via email pro forma to: - Follow up if not returned within 5 working days.

18. Failed Asylum Seekers – 18+ requiring local authority support

The law states that young people who are considered to be ‘failed asylum seekers’ or have exhausted their appeal rights to remain in the UK (ARE) may continue to receive leaving care support from social services for an extended period of three months as directed by the UKVI (Home office funding: Leaving care, post 18 years age).

The local authority may be able to provide accommodation, subsistence and/or other support to the care leaver after a Human Rights Assessment has been carried out and one of the following conditions is met (Schedule 3 of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2002 as amended by the Immigration Act 2016).

  1. The adult care leaver would otherwise be destitute and has a specified immigration (non-asylum) application outstanding with the Home Office, e.g. an application for leave to remain on the basis of the ECHR Article 8 right to respect for family life. Where the person has not claimed asylum and is making their first application to the Home Office to regularise their immigration status (e.g. having been taken into local authority care as a victim of trafficking), they will remain supported by the local authority under the Children Act 1989, pending the outcome of that application and any appeal (If the person has an outstanding asylum claim, they will instead be supported by the Home Office under Section 95 of the 1999 Act);
  2. The adult care leaver would otherwise be destitute and could bring, or has outstanding, an immigration (non-asylum) appeal that is not one which must be continued from outside the UK. (If the person has an outstanding asylum appeal, they will instead be supported by the Home Office under Section 95 of the 1999 Act);
  3. The adult care leaver who has exhausted their appeal rights, but the local authority is satisfied that support needs to be provided to prevent destitution and meet any other social care needs pending the person’s departure from the UK. Where this is the case, a full assessment of need is to be done and a close liaison with the Central Immigration Authority or the home office with regards to the time frame of the persons removal or departure from the UK.