UNACCOMPANIED MINORS IN THE EU

“I have not seen my family since I was 7 years old. My brother found me through the Red Cross, but he couldn’t find the rest of my family.”
(Boy, 17, UK)
“Learning is important! My father was teacher in Afghanistan and was killed by Taliban because he did not stop teaching [...].”
(Boy, 14, Austria)
“I do not know what is a legal guardian. Do I have one?”
(Girl, 17, Austria)
“Aunt [social worker] is the most important person for me. She is like my mum.”
(Girl, 16, Poland)
“[…] everyone thinks we lie about our age.”
(Boy, 17, Spain)
“Reunification with my family here would be the most beautiful thing in the whole world.”
(Boy, 17, Austria)

An unaccompanied minor is…

a non-EU national or stateless person below the age of 18 who arrives on the territory of the EU States unaccompanied by an adult responsible for him/her, and for as long as s/he is not effectively taken into the care of such a person, including a minor who is left unaccompanied after s/he has entered the territory of the EU States.
(Asylum acquis, e.g. Qualification Directive)

Why do unaccompanied minors COME to the EU?

  • to escape from wars and conflicts, poverty or natural catastrophes, discrimination or persecution or serious harm, i.e. international protection (asylum);
  • in the expectation of a better life, following economic and aspirational reasons;
  • to join family members;
  • as victims of trafficking in human beings destined for exploitation, such as sexual exploitation and forced labour or services.