The 30 December issue of The Guardian newspaper reported that in proposed last-minute changes to the immigration bill, currently going through the House of Lords, government ministers have suggested withdrawing the normal standards of support for young people leaving care whose asylum or other claims to stay in the country have failed.
Currently, any 18-year-olds leaving care receive help with accommodation where their welfare requires it, personal advisers, funding for higher education and training, and the right to stay in foster care for longer if they wish. These rights, under the Government’s proposed legislation, would be removed as the looked-after child turns 18 if they have had their asylum application rejected, or leave to remain otherwise denied.
Kamena joined others such as Kier Starmer, a Labour MP and former Director of Public Prosecutions, in highlighting concerns and potential impact of the proposed changes. Kamena said:
“What the immigration bill is trying to do is say for this group, who have arrived as children and had an immigration issue, we don’t think you should be entitled to any [support]. It’s going to create a two-tier system where young people on the basis of their immigration status are discriminated against.
“When it’s raised with the Government, their response is: ‘these are adult migrants – by the time they turn 18, they shouldn’t be here and we don’t owe them anything’. But they are still care leavers, and the Government recognises that with any other care leavers. If anything, they are more vulnerable.”