First migrant children have arrived in the UK from the Calais Jungle camp
- Fourteen are understood to have left the northern French port today
- They arrived at the Home Office in Croydon, south London, this afternoon
- The youngsters will be reunited with relatives already living in Britain
The first migrant children have arrived in Britain from Calais as a fast-track system is launched to move youngsters from the Jungle camp before it is demolished.
Fourteen children aged 14 to 17 arrived by coach at the head office of UK Visas and Immigration in Croydon, south London, to register with the Home Office.
The youngsters, who are understood to come from war-torn countries including Syria and Sudan, will be processed at the centre before they are reunited with relatives already living in Britain.
They are the first of some 100 children who are expected to make the same journey this week as French authorities prepare to raze the Jungle camp to the ground.
Aimal Khan, 14, dressed in a grey 'hoodie' and jogging bottoms is escorted to the Home Office branch in Croydon, south London, after arriving from the Calais Jungle camp. Some 14 youngsters are believed to have made the journey today
Aimal had an emotional reunion with his brother Asif, left, 25, a chef who has lived in the UK for 11 years and is the reason his younger brother qualifies for asylum here
The youngsters (one pictured centre in a green jacket and another in a red jacket) are the first of dozens of children who are expected to make the same journey this week as French authorities prepare to raze the Jungle camp to the ground
The children, one boy pictured in a grey jacket and white top, will be reunited with relatives already living in Britain
They are being moved from the Jungle camp, pictured, ahead of its impending demolition by French authorities
In total more than 140 unaccompanied children have been accepted into the UK under the Dublin Regulation, with more than 80 from France.
A team of British officials were sent to Calais to help French officials speed up the transfer of minors ahead of the demolition.
Under a law known as the Dublin Regulation, children with close relatives in the UK can seek asylum in this country regardless of whether they have sought asylum elsewhere
A number of other 'at-risk' unaccompanied children are also allowed following the Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act that was passed in May.
A Home Office spokesman said 'essential checks' have been carried out on these young people, including security checks, verifying their ages and confirming their identities and eligibility to come to the UK.
The youngsters now face further screening by the Home Office before they are reunited with family members. Some might be housed in specialist accommodation while these safeguarding checks take place, the spokesman said.
Asif, right, said all he had been thinking about was 'giving his little brother a hug' and that it was a 'blessing' he got out of Calais to the UK
Other migrant children looked delighted as they were seen through a window, pictured, of a Home Office processing centre in Croydon
A Home Office spokesman said: 'This is the start of the process to transfer as many eligible children as possible before the start of the clearance, as the Home Secretary set out in Parliament.'
Chef Asif Khan, 25, said his 14-year-old brother Aimal was among those who arrived today. The brothers have not seen each other for more than a decade after Asif fled their home in Afghanistan.
Asif, who has lived in Britain for 11 years, said he was simply looking forward to giving his little brother a hug.
He said: 'I really appreciate this. My brother was in Calais for the last six months.
'It was a blessing to receive him from there. I’m really happy. His journey was so difficult, it was by walking, by bus to Calais.
'He gets a new life now, because there are many people who died in Calais.'
Supporters welcomed the group's arrival but warned there was still work to be done. Pictured is a smiling teenager wearing a dark shirt and jeans
Two of the youngsters, one wearing a long-sleeved blue top and another in a dark patterned shirt, are escorted off the bus and taken to the Home Office base
A man smiles with one of two unidentified young migrants, one pictured in a black hooded top and jeans and another in a denim jacket, as they arrive in Britain by coach
An estimated 1,000 unaccompanied children are currently living in the Jungle of which around 180 have been identified as having family ties to Britain.
WHAT THE LAW SAYS
Last week Home Secretary Amber Rudd said she intended to transfer as many children as possible under the Dublin Regulation before the Jungle is cleared.
Children who are eligible to come to the UK under the Dubs Amendment to the Immigration Act 2016 must be supported in France while their cases are considered.
If it is in the best interests of children who meet the Dubs criteria they will be transferred to the UK.
The arrival of the first group of children was welcomed by the charity Citizens UK.
Lord Dubs said: 'In the coming days, Citizens UK's Safe Passage team will be working round the clock to ensure that all children with a legal right to sanctuary in the UK are brought to safety.
'This includes the children eligible under the Dubs amendment, for whom there is still no official process in place. No child must be left behind in the chaos of demolition.'
He added: 'Looking ahead we must never allow a repeat of Calais.
'The Government must learn lessons from this situation and realise that it has a duty to make the Dublin mechanism work across Europe, as well as establishing a clear procedure for children without family eligible for sanctuary under the Dubs amendment.'
A boy looks out of the bus window as he arrives at the Home Office in Croydon, south London
A team of British officials were sent to Calais to help French officials speed up the transfer of minors ahead of the demolition of the migrant Jungle camp. Pictured, a teenager who arrived in London today wearing a blue jacket and grey trousers
UK Border Force staff escort the first group of unaccompanied minors, pictured in gret hooded tops, to the Home Office
Actress Juliet Stevenson said it was a 'proud moment' for Britain.
She added: 'We did the right thing. The arrival of hundreds of vulnerable children from Calais to the UK in the coming days is in no small part due to the tireless campaigning of community leaders, the hard work of Citizens UK's lawyers, and the Safe Passage team in Calais who have been working to safeguard children for over a year.
'Many children will sleep safely in warm beds tonight but in the coming days we must make sure every last child with a right to sanctuary here is brought to safety.'
Campaigners say they have identified hundreds of children in the camp who have a right to come to the UK, either because they have family ties here under the so-called Dublin regulations, or through the Dubs amendment.
Claims of asylum must normally be made in the first safe country a migrant arrives in - but children can have applications transferred to any country a relative is living in.
The Government has faced criticism over efforts to identify and transfer youngsters. Pictured, some of the unaccompanied children wearing grey tops arriving at the Home Office centre in south London
One young man clapped as he stepped off the bus in London after the journey from Calais
The children, including this teen wearing a white top and blue trousers, have been moved as the French authorities prepare to demolish the Jungle
Border Force staff were on hand to escort the youngsters, pictured centre in hooded tops, from the coach to the office
The Government has faced criticism over efforts to identify and transfer youngsters through the routes.
Last week Home Secretary Amber Rudd told the Commons that more than 80 unaccompanied children had been accepted for transfer under the Dublin regulation so far this year.
Under the rule, asylum claims must be made in the first safe country a person reaches but children can have their application transferred to another country if they have family members living there.
The Home Secretary also said that more than 50 children had been taken, largely from Greece, under Lord Dubs' amendment to the Immigration Act.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams said he is 'delighted' to welcome the children to the UK, but cautioned that this is the first step and more children need help urgently.
Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams speaks to the media today
The Home Office centre at Lunar House in Croydon, south London, where the migrants arrived
Lord Williams has called for the Government to do more to protect around 400 unaccompanied children currently at the Jungle camp and has accused Whitehall of 'foot-dragging'.
He has been working with social justice charity Citizens UK on the issue and appeared at a media briefing in Croydon today in conjunction with the first arrival of migrant children.
Lord Williams said: 'Today is the beginning of what I hope will be, in the next couple of weeks, a serious, shared enterprise for Government and voluntary organisations in this country.
'We welcome the development. We do want to remind everyone, public and Government, that time is short.
'This is a matter of urgency and we want to see some progress not only on those children who already have the legal right to be here, but on those others who are covered by the Dubs amendment and whose needs can be considered by this country.'
Meanwhile notices have been posted in shops in the the Jungle warning they must be evacuated within two days, before the demolition of makeshift buildings in the shanty town.
The port city's police commissioner Patrick Visser-Bourdon has visited the slum where legal notification of the order to leave the shops was posted in French.
The 'Jungle', pictured, currently has more than 10,000 migrants living in it but French authorities have not yet settled a date for its demolition
An estimated 1,000 unaccompanied children are currently living in the Jungle, pictured, of which around 180 have been identified as having family ties to Britain
Migrants are pictured here moving their possessions out of the southern half of the camp ahead of its demolition
Mr Visser-Bourdon said similar notices would go up once the French courts had given the go-ahead to clear the rest of the Jungle, where some 10,000 inhabitants are camped.
He said: 'In two days I could come back and destroy the shops. I'm not saying I'm going to do that, but I have to notify the legal decision.'
Mr Visser-Bourdon said it was unclear when the site will be demolished, adding: 'When we get a date I will come back here and say, "We have a decision and you have to leave in one or two days", but we don't have a date.'
Meanwhile, amid reports that migrants and refugees may attempt last-ditch bids to cross the English Channel, Kent Police said plans had been drawn up to cope with any incidents.
A spokesman said: 'Kent Police, together with a number of partner agencies, are monitoring events in northern France and are coordinating the development of appropriate contingency plans should it be necessary to minimise any subsequent impact on our communities.'
The Jungle closure plan will see 40 to 50 people being held at reception centres in regions across France for up to four months while authorities investigate their cases.
Those who do not seek asylum will be deported.