The UK received a fifth of all the unaccompanied children who arrived in the European Union seeking asylum last year, newly published figures show.
The number of minors arriving in Britain without a parent or guardian rose by 19% year-on-year to 3,650 – the highest total of any country in the bloc, according the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).
Of the unaccompanied young people seeking asylum in the UK, 584 came from Eritrea. The UK also received 92% of the total 485 Vietnamese minors arriving in the EU, and 69% of 760 minors who travelled from Iran.
Kent County Council leader Roger Gough told The Times that “the number of migrants crossing the Channel had increased significantly in the past year, putting pressure on council facilities”.
The number of child migrants arriving in Kent has doubled in a year, he added, leaving the council in a “critical situation”.
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Of a total 738,000 asylum seekers of all ages who arrived in the EU in 2019, the UK received 44,835 – the fifth highest in the bloc. Germany received the most asylum claims (165,615), followed by France (128,940) and Spain (117,795), and Greece (77,275), according to the EASO data.