September 22, 2015
The increasing number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Europe is a “particularly striking and worrying characteristic” of the current refugee crisis, according to a new report on migration trends in 2015 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The responsibility for children falls on the state where they first arrive and identified.
In 2014, the 24,000 unaccompanied minors applying for asylum comprised 4 per cent of all asylum seekers in the European Union (EU).
Many of the children who arrive at 16 or 17 years old come with no formal schooling. With no knowledge of the language of the host countries, the challenge of integrating them is different and more difficult than for adults as they need housing, schooling and specialised support services. Many children vanish from reception centres shortly after arrival, the report notes.