The U.K. will resettle as many as 3,000 “vulnerable” children from the Middle East and North Africa, adding to a program under which the government has pledged to take in 20,000 Syrian refugees.
The program has been developed after consultation with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, and will target children at risk as defined by the agency, rather than just unaccompanied minors, Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said Thursday in a written statement to Parliament.
“It will be open to all at-risk groups and nationalities within the region, with the best interests of the child at the heart of the scheme,” Brokenshire said. “We can make the biggest difference and add most value by supporting children and their families in the conflict region whilst providing a route to the U.K. for the minority of vulnerable or at-risk cases where resettlement is judged by the UNHCR to be in the child’s best interests.”
The U.K. will also send 75 personnel to help with the processing and administration of migrants at reception centers in Greece, as well as medical supplies and equipment, Brokenshire said. That contribution is in addition to three Border Force vessels that are assisting the Greek coastguard, he said.