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A million children in the UK don’t have British or Irish citizenship, and 175,000 live in families expected to have no recourse to public funds

14 Aug 2020

A new briefing from the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford shows that more than a million children under 18 in the UK (1,082,000) do not have British or Irish citizenship. More than one in six of these children (175,634) live in a family expected to have no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

The new briefing – Children of Migrants in the UK – is published today (August 14th 2020). It looks at children living in the UK with at least one parent who was born abroad, dealing with issues ranging from their citizenship and educational performance to deprivation and access to public funds.

The analysis shows that in 2019 28% of all children under 18 living in the UK – a total of 3.8million – had at least one parent who was born abroad. In 2019, 6% (896,000) of children under age 18 were born abroad, and 8% (1,082,000) were non-UK/non-Irish citizens.

Among children born in the UK, an estimated 421,000 were not British citizens in 2019 (314,000 were non-Irish EU citizens and 108,000 were citizens of a non-EU country). The briefing also shows that in 2019 177,000 children who are not UK citizens had been living in the UK for at least 10 years and would therefore qualify for British citizenship.

Dr Mariña Fernández-Reino, Senior Researcher at the Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford said: “More than a quarter of children under age 18 living in the UK have at least one parent who was born abroad, so this group is important both for current migration debates and for the future of the UK as a whole.

“Our analysis shows that while an estimated 29% of children under 16 in UK-born households face deprivation of some sort – for children of non-EU parents the level is 43%.”

The briefing also estimates the number children in families with no recourse to public funds because of their immigration status.

Dr Fernández-Reino added: “We estimate that 175,000 children in the UK live in families whose immigration conditions mean that they are likely to have no recourse to public funds (NRPF). Having NFPF could increase the financial hardship of children in families whose adult members had lost their jobs or had large income losses as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.”

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