Manchester City Council has today signed a brand new pledge underlining its commitment to all care-leavers and looked-after children and young people living in Manchester, who are affected by Brexit immigration changes.
The Council is the first local authority to sign up to the pledge which has been launched by Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit for local councils and others to demonstrate their determination and commitment to do the right thing by these young people.
Manchester City Council's pledge to its children and young people reads:
To our children in care and care leavers affected by Brexit immigration changes
In Manchester our looked after children and care leavers will not become part of the next Windrush generation because of Brexit immigration changes.
Identify all our looked after children and care leavers affected by Brexit
Connect them with legal advice so they can make the most appropriate immigration applications
Support those who are eligible to apply for British citizenship'
The first signatory on the pledge is Councillor Garry Bridges, Executive Member for Children and Schools, Manchester City Council.
He said: "One major area of Brexit concern that seems to have been forgotten about and has received little attention is the impact of it on our children and young people - those looked after by us, and those who have left our care.
"Through no fault of their own many of them now face insecurity about their status and this is both unacceptable and scary for them.
"We've got a dedicated senior member of staff leading on work to support these young people and they're working closely and round the clock with staff from Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit to advise young people and to support them to access the documents they need and to make applications to the Home Office.
"This is often challenging and labour intensive work but it cannot wait. It needs to be done as quickly as possible to remove the worry, concern, and uncertainty that these vulnerable children and young people currently have.
"It's plainly wrong that children and young people as alone and vulnerable as they are, have even been put in this position. We're determined not to let our children down and will do everything we can to support them through this."
Far from being just a local issue the recent immigration changes are now affecting thousands of children and young people nationally who are in care, or leaving care.
Denise McDowell, Chief Executive, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, said: “We're delighted that Manchester City Council is making this commitment to its children and young people affected by Brexit.
"Across the country 10,000 children in care and young care-leavers are experiencing uncertainty about their immigration status because of Brexit and Manchester has the opportunity to showcase what best practice care looks like.
"The stakes are high. Without urgent action young people are at risk of homelessness, detention or even deportation from the UK because of the government’s Hostile Environment policies.
"This cannot be the future for Manchester’s young people and we will support council staff over the coming months in their work to make good this pledge.”