Unaccompanied minor refugees on the rise in Europe: OECD

The increasing number of unaccompanied minors seeking asylum in Europe is a “particularly striking and worrying characteristic” of the current refugee crisis, according to a new report on migration trends in 2015 by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The responsibility for children falls on the state where they first arrive and are identified.

Many of the children who arrive at 16 or 17 years old come with no formal schooling. With no knowledge of the language of the host nations, the challenge of integrating them is different and difficult than for adults as they need housing, schooling and specialised support services. Many children vanish from reception centres shortly after arrival.

The diversity of origin nations of asylum-seekers is challenging. The situation is unlikely to change in the future, the report concludes. On Tuesday, EU interior ministers approved a plan to relocate 120,000 refugees across the bloc, but only after fierce opposition from central and eastern European nations.