Calais leave – a new form of leave to remain for some children in Calais

Legal Updates

street in the Calais camp

In September, the UK government announced  a new form of leave to remain in the UK for children transferred to the UK to reunite with their families during the Calais camp clearance in 2016.

The announcement said:

As part the UK’s support for the clearance of the Calais camp, 769 unaccompanied children were transferred from France to the UK. 549 of these children were transferred to reunite with family members already in the UK.

However, some of the children do not qualify for international protection under existing immigration rules, but the government is clear that all those transferred from Calais to reunite with their family members should be able to remain here and that is why a new form of leave will be created.

The government stated that those granted “Calais Leave” will have:

  • the right to study,
  • the right to work,
  • the right to access public funds and healthcare,
  • the right to apply for settlement (“Indefinite Leave to Remain”) after ten years.

Calais Leave will only be available to those brought over as part of the “Calais clearance exercise” between October 2016 and July 2017, who were under the age of 18 at this time, and who had recognised family ties in the UK.

Introduced in October 2018 statement of changes to the immigration rules

On 12 October, Calais Leave was introduced via a statement of changes to the immigration rules.

This confirmed that Calais leave would be granted for a period of five years if the Home Office is satisfied that:

(i)  the person is not excluded from being a refugee under regulation 7 of the Refugee or Person in Need of International Protection (Qualification)  Regulations 2006 or excluded from a grant of humanitarian protection under paragraph 339D of these Rules; [Read more about exclusion in our Toolkit here.]
(ii)  the  person’s application for refugee status or humanitarian protection has been refused;
(iii) there are no reasonable grounds for regarding the person as a danger to the security of the United Kingdom;
(iv) the person has not been convicted by a final judgment of a particularly serious crime, and does not constitute a danger to the community of the United Kingdom; and
(v)  none of the general grounds for refusal in paragraph 322 apply.

At the end of the five-year period, if each of the requirements above continue to be met, the person will be granted Calais leave for a further period of five years.  This is therefore a ten year route to settlement (indefinite leave to remain).



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