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Approaches to Unaccompanied Minors Following Status Determination in the EU plus Norway: EMN Inform

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This inform summarises the EMN study on Approaches to Unaccompanied Minors Following Status Determination in the EU plus Norway.

Key points to note:

  • Between 2014 and 2017, some 219,575 minors came to the EU and Norway unaccompanied, i.e. without a parent or another adult responsible for them, to seek asylum.
  • At least another 48,591 minors came unaccompanied for other reasons, though the number of those outside the asylum system remains largely unknown.
  • The countries with highest numbers of minors applying for asylum in the EU were Germany (71,675), Sweden (45,065), Italy (22,540) Austria (15,500) and Hungary (10,860).
  • The majority of unaccompanied minors were boys (89%). Most were young boys of 16 and 17 years of age (65%) with only a small proportion being less than 14 years old.
  • The top five countries of origin were Afghanistan (82,625), Syria (34,205), Eritrea (15,970), Iraq (10,975) and Somalia (10,385).
  • The majority of unaccompanied minors arriving in Member States are granted refugee status or subsidiary protection, and Member States provide (temporary) residence permits once a positive decision on the application has been taken.
  • Many Member States further grant national alternative or temporary statuses to unaccompanied minors, which are specific to each Member State.
  • Member States generally give priority to the care of unaccompanied minors, which commences immediately, i.e. prior to status determination.
  • Most Member States foresee by law the possibility to issue a decision on the return of an unaccompanied minor. In line with the EU acquis, the return process for unaccompanied minors is based on the assessment of the best interests of the child including assuring the right of the child to be heard, involving appropriate bodies in the process, and ensuring adequate reception conditions in the place of return.
  • Member States all consider the best interest of the child when it comes to the care, integration or return of unaccompanied minors. However, few of them have specific laws, policies or practices in place to guide this process when applying care or integration measures.
  • About a third of Member States prepare an independence plan to support the unaccompanied minor in becoming autonomous, or accommodate the minors in special facilities which encourage their independence prior to the transition to adulthood. Such measures generally apply to all children leaving state care, including unaccompanied minors.

See also:

Author: European Migration Network
Publisher: Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs, European Commission
Date of Publication: 09 August 2018
Reference Period: 01 January 2000 to 01 January 2000
Geographical focus: Europe

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