Children arriving in the UK are looking for safety - but they are faced with hostility
We've all seen images of young people crossing the channel on their own. But what happens to them once they have arrived in the UK? The process of claiming asylum is not simple, and can take months. After a traumatic journey, often fleeing war or violence and having left family behind, people are met in the UK by a hostile environment. Hostile in terms of policy, and hostile in terms of rhetoric. These young people find themselves the target of a media storm, but they’re just looking for safety and stability.
GMIAU provides advice and support to people subjected to immigration control
Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU) has supported people subjected to immigration control for more than 30 years. We provide free, independent legal advice, representation and support to people across the North West of England.
Young people seeking asylum in Greater Manchester need our help more than ever. We’re currently supporting around 200 children - that’s a quarter of our overall caseload. Supporting us means supporting them through a confusing and often traumatic legal process. We walk alongside young people as they:
- Find and form a relationship with a solicitor, tell their story, and learn about the asylum process.
“They got me a solicitor at GMIAU, Isobel. She told me about claiming asylum and helped me do this. I didn’t want to talk at first, but she listened and was really kind. I told my whole story” - Ali
- Try to meet friends in a new place, and access education.
“Going to college and meeting new friends helped me. It is important to do these things as it makes you feel relaxed when you meet people from your country.” - Hashim
- Socialise with GMIAU’s All4One youth group.
“I am happy as I have met a lot of people from a lot of countries, and I have met a lot of friends.” - Tuan
- Form a relationship with social workers
“They ask how you are, you can say ‘good’, but if they were looking at you, they would know the truth. The best social worker I had said ‘let’s go for a 5 minute walk and talk.” - Sayed
- Go through the trauma of an Age Assessment if they have their age disbelieved
“When they refused my age, I was worried, because the Home Office took me away… I felt stressed and sometimes I cried. I missed my family and my country.” - Tuan
- Wait for and find out their asylum decision
“I will never forget your help. Thank you everyone. Now I can live in England forever and I hope to get a good job here.” - Tuan
“I feel like I’ve finally been able to rest and I feel safe here. I have got hope for the future again.” - Ali
(Names have been changed)
We can't do this without your support
As the tabloid media continues to use dehumanising, inflammatory language to describe the small numbers of people seeking safety in the UK, as the Home Secretary attacks the lawyers trying to help people access their human rights, and as life gets harder for people seeking asylum, we are concerned that further problems are on the horizon. We’re supporting the highest number of children we ever have. Brexit means that a whole new group of people who already live in the UK, and who are not seeking asylum, will become affected by the Hostile Environment - many of them children. People who miss the deadline for the EU Settlement Scheme will find themselves suddenly here unlawfully next year, and this will particularly affect children in care and care leavers.
Donating to GMIAU will allow us to support as many young people as possible to access their legal rights and find support and community in the UK.
- £5-10 helps a young person with a bus fare or phone credit in an emergency
- £50 means our support worker can attend an appointment to make sure a young person's rights are upheld
- £100 funds a meeting of the All4One youth group so that isolated young people can come together and make new friends
From all the team at GMIAU, thank you to those who have already supported us and who make our work possible.