§ Mr. Dicks
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what information he has concerning the arrival at Heathrow airport of immigrant minors from Ethiopia and adjacent African countries; what criteria are being operated regarding their admission; what inquiries are being made for financing their travel to the United Kingdom; and what accommodation is available for them and at whose expense.
§ Mr. Peter Lloyd
We do not record separately the entry to the United Kingdom of minors from Ethiopia or other countries. Their entry is governed by the immigration rules. Under the rules, minors with no support or accommodation to go to would be liable to refusal. If such minors sought asylum it would be necessary to consider their claims to refugee status under the 1951 United Nations convention before a refusal decision could be taken. In fact, very few unaccompanied children seek asylum on arrival in the United Kingdom. We assume that the Ethiopian children whose cases have been publicised recently entered the United Kingdom in another capacity, for example, visiting with an accompanying adult., before being abandoned. We have seen no evidence of organised abuse in arrangements for travel or entry to this country. The statutory responsibility for the care of any child in this country without adult support rests with local authorities.