Table 3

Possible impact of aspects of existing and imminent immigration law on the mental health of refugee children

Policy aspectsDescription and backgroundExample of possible impact on children
DispersalRefers to a forced resettlement of asylum seekers If a refugee decides not to move they then lose entitlement to benefits and accommodationYet one more forced relocation for children and moves children away from a school they might have settled in Can be moved to an area without important statutory and non-statutory services
Accommodation centresNew pilot policy to build three accommodation centres for up to 750 asylum seekers to live until their status is determinedChildren for first six months to be educated on these sites and away from mainstream education
Reporting centresCentres to be set up throughout the country, where refugees will have to report in person at regular intervalsAdds to the uncertainty of the refugee determination process and inability of families to settle, as each reporting time might imply sudden departure to an unknown destination
Detention centresThe government goal is to be able to detain up to 4000 asylum seekers. In 2001, four new detention centres were built, increasing the total in the UK to eightDetention of children under the age of 16 is against British law; however, this is being increasingly ignored for asylum seeking children No statutory provision for those that are detained
Tighter immigration controlsPlacing a fine on carriers Improving border controls, e.g. gamma scannersGreater likelihood to turn to illegal and/or dangerous means to enter the country, and exposure to other forms of abuse by traffickers