Turning 18 and Undocumented: Supporting Children in their Transition to Adulthood

Turning 18 and Undocumented: Supporting Children in their Transition to Adulthood

For thousands of migrant children and young people in Europe, turning 18 means transitioning into an uncertain future, with too few resources to navigate this new phase in life. The safeguards that international and EU law guarantee to children, regardless of their residence status, no longer apply once they turn 18. Children lose preferential access to support and services like health care, specialised social workers, schooling and training, or a guardian. This loss of child rights, called ‘ageing out’, is a fact for all children who turn 18. But for hundreds of thousands of children with a precarious residence status, ageing out not only means losing the fundamental rights they held as children, but also becoming undocumented on their 18th birthday.

In PICUM´s new report, Turning 18 and undocumented: Supporting children in their transition into adulthood, the organisation provides an overview of how European countries facilitate or hinder access to secure residence status for children and young people ageing out. In addition, PICUM highlights promising policies and practices and recommends ways forward.

The report contains:

  • An overview of the challenges migrant children and young people face when they age out in Europe
  • Insights into to social and mental health impact of ageing out into undocumented adulthood
  • In-depth descriptions of return policies and relevant residence procedures in Belgium, German, Greece, Spain, Sweden and the UK
  • Positive practices supporting undocumented children and young people in Belgium, Ireland, Germany and The Netherlands
  • Recommendations for the EU institutions and national and local governments