The MP for Bosworth, Dr Luke Evans, raised the issue of age verification checks with the Home Secretary during a debate in Parliament on channel crossings. Other EU countries like France and Germany currently use age verification checks for those arriving illegally.
In the debate on 22 November, Dr Luke said: ‘The Home Secretary has talked a number of times about age verification and people trying to cheat the system by coming in as if they are children. How would age verification work? How many other countries use it as a tool, whether in Europe or elsewhere in the world, to ensure that those who come are genuinely who they say they are?’
In response, Priti Patel said Dr Luke raised ‘an important question’ around ‘the age verification of illegal migrants who pose as children’, which ‘poses wider security and safeguarding concerns’.
The Home Secretary added: ‘We have seen in previous years, I am very disappointed to say, grown adult men in schools, which poses wider safeguarding issues. My hon. Friend asks about other countries and the type of techniques they use. The techniques we are proposing in the Nationality and Borders Bill are used in many EU member states.’
Dr Luke continues to monitor this matter closely and was most concerned that later in the week, 27 migrants sadly died whilst attempting to cross the Channel, and was pleased that the Prime Minister set out a 5-point plan to help prevent another tragedy of this kind.
This plan included joint patrols to prevent more boats from leaving French beaches, deploying more advanced technology like sensors and radar, reciprocal maritime patrols in each other’s territorial waters and airborne surveillance, deepening intelligence work to deliver more prosecutions on both sides of the channel, and immediate work on a bilateral returns agreement with France.
In addition to raising the issue in Parliament, Dr Luke has also written to Ministers, discussed the issue personally with the Home Secretary, and continues to support the Nationality and Borders Bill earlier this year, which is due back for debate before Christmas, and is designed to help tackle illegal immigration.