Child refugees who have been turned away from the UK could have their cases reviewed, as the Home Office comes under pressure over the early closure of a programme for child migrants.
Officials will look again at the cases of minors with links to the UK, after it emerged that some 400 unaccompanied children had returned to an infamous migrant camp in Calais in the hope of crossing the Channel.
It comes as the Government faces a backlash over a decision to take just 350 lone children from European refugee camps under the so-called Dubs scheme, after it was expected to accommodate 3,000.
A separate scheme to bring unaccompanied refugee children with family links to the UK under the Dublin convention was also to come to an end.
But the Home Office has said it will reconsider some of the Dublin cases.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Children in France may be eligible to be transferred to the UK where they have a family link as set out in the Dublin Regulation.
“We have agreed with the French authorities that we will review any new information from children formerly resident in the Calais camp to assess whether it would change our determination of their eligibility under the Dublin Regulation, to encourage an application.”
France had moved more than 6,000 migrants from Calais to reception centres elsewhere in the country.
But reports found children had been neglected in the centres, with some not given enough food or emotional support.
The Guardian reported some children had returned to the so-called Calais ‘Jungle’ an an attempt to cross to the UK.
One teenager, who crossed the Channel by hiding under a coach, told the paper children in the reception centres were losing hope of getting to the UK through official means.
The Government defended its decision to close the Dubs scheme, amid an outcry from human rights campaigners, saying the programme was encouraging children to go to Europe.
“The Government has always been clear that we do not want to incentivise perilous journeys to Europe particularly by the most vulnerable children,” Home Secretary Amber Rudd said.
“The section 67 obligation was accepted on the measure that it would not act as a pull factor to Europe. The Government has a clear strategy and we believe this is the right approach.”