Ministers are considering a plan to require schools to check the immigration status of their pupils, as part of a crackdown on “education tourists”.
The policy proposal is being weighed up by ministers who make up the inter-ministerial group (IMG) on migrants’ access to benefits and public services, according to a chain of leaked emails written by officials of the Department for Education (DfE) in the past week.
The emails from civil servants advising the IMG – which includes schools minister David Laws and immigration minister Mark Harper – suggest that the group considered banning illegal immigrant children from schools. However, the civil servants warned that the UK would be in contravention of article 28 of the UN convention on the rights of the child if ministers took that step.
One study published last May by Oxford University’s centre on migration, policy and society estimated there were 120,000 children living in the UK without legal immigration status.