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Refugee and Migrant Children's Consortium briefings on Part 4 (age assessments) of the Nationality and Borders Bill

Kamena Dorling

Part 4 of the Nationality and Borders Bill contains a wide range of changes to the current age assessment process. The Refugee and Migrant Children’s Consortium (RMCC), a coalition of over 60 organisations, has already set out its views in detail to the government but remains very worried.

The RMCC has urged Peers to support amendments that will help address the following concerns:

  • The number of children whose ages are disputed will increase, even when there are no reasons to doubt the age the child says they are;
  • The Home Office will have too much power to determine who assesses age, when and how, undermining the role of local authority social workers as child protection experts; and
  • The government will have the power to use scientific methods that may be inaccurate and harmful, and children will have no choice but to consent to them.

The consortium also briefed on a new clause that would based on principles taken from existing international and domestic law and guidance that set out what an expert and fair age assessment process should look like.