Four in 10 migrant 'minors' are at least 18 after age checks
Legal claims from refugees and migrants accused of lying about their age are costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of pounds.
The cases arise when lawyers challenge age checks by social workers who judge 'child' migrants to be adults. Cases can drag on for as long as three years.
Kent County Council alone has paid out over £300,000 on 25 cases in the past four years.
Of 75 migrants given age checks in 2018 and 2019, 31 were judged to be adults.
The highest assessed age was 25. In a week when the annual number of cross-Channel boat migrants surged past 7,500, it can also be revealed that:
More than four in ten asylum seekers given age checks after arriving from France and claiming to be children were judged to be at least 18;
The UK has given at least £164milion to France to stem arrivals;
More than £425,000 went on drones, night-vision binoculars, thermal cameras, infrared glasses and vehicles;
Numbers at Britain's first migrant camp have exceeded 300 within a month of opening;
The president of the Calais region has blamed the problems on Britain's black market.
Thirteen of the Kent cases are ongoing, with the majority of the remainder struck out, withdrawn or settled out of court.
If a refugee does not have proof of age documents a Home Office agent will make a decision based on physical appearance and demeanour.
Unless the claimant appears significantly over 18, they will be treated as children until age-assessed by social workers. Being under 18 entitles them to preferential treatment.