Policy paper

Factsheet: section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 (‘Dubs amendment’)

Updated 27 July 2020

This was published under the 2016 to 2019 May Conservative government

Section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016 was introduced following an amendment tabled by Lord Dubs, which committed the government to transfer 480 unaccompanied asylum-seeking children (UASC) from Europe.

In November 2017, the Home Office published data on the Transfer of children to the UK from the Calais Operation. The data showed that over 220 children were transferred to the UK under section 67 following the French authorities’ clearance of the Calais camp in late 2016.  Since then we have been making further progress with participating states France, Greece, and Italy to transfer the remaining children and achieve this important commitment.

On the 21 May 2020 we announced 478 children had transferred to the UK under section 67. Transfers of the two remaining children from Italy were suspended due to travel restrictions in place around Europe in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We can now confirm that the UK has successfully transferred the final two children, completing our section 67 commitment.

A breakdown of the number of children transferred to the UK under section 67 will be published in the quarterly Immigration Statistics.


Section 67 committed the government to relocate a specified number of unaccompanied children, to be determined by the government in consultation with local authorities. The government’s consultation determined the total figure to be 480.

Before a child was transferred to the UK, it had to be established that it would be in their best interests to come to the UK, rather than remain in their current host country, be transferred to another EU member state, or to be reunited with family outside of Europe.

There was no application process involved. Instead, it was the responsibility of the participating country to consider whether an unaccompanied child was eligible for the scheme against the UK’s eligibility criteria. Further information on the eligibility criteria and transfer process is on GOV.UK.

Those transferred under section 67 claimed asylum on arrival in to the UK. If their claim was successful, they received refugee status. If the individual’s asylum claim was unsuccessful, they would receive ‘section 67 leave’.

The government introduced section 67 leave in June 2018 to fulfil its legal obligation to those children transferred to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016. This form of leave allows them to study, work, access public funds and healthcare, and is a route to settlement which they might not otherwise have qualified for.

From the 1 October 2019, those transferred to the UK under section 67 have been granted section 67 leave shortly after arrival in the UK. This grant of leave provides certainty and reassurance to those children transferred from the outset of their arrival to the UK. This does not prevent the child from claiming asylum should they wish to do so. If they chose to do so, they will still retain their section 67 leave whilst their claim for asylum is considered.

The relocation of eligible children to the UK has remained dependent on the availability of appropriate local authority care placements in the UK. The government is extremely grateful for the work of local authorities who have agreed to accept children under this scheme, particularly as the UK has received a significant number of unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in recent years. In 2019 alone, the UK received 3,651 asylum applications from unaccompanied children, a rise of 19% to the previous year. Eurostat data shows that the UK received more asylum applications from unaccompanied children in 2019 than any country in the EU. As a result, over 5,000 unaccompanied children are being cared for by local authorities in English local authorities alone.

Further statistics on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the UK can be found in the ‘How many people do we grant asylum and protection to?’ section of the quarterly Immigration Statistics.