Britain is going to use £10 million ($20.2 million) to support migrant children.
This is the first time Britain has decided to accept migrant children from Syria, who are already present in Europe. It will allow 3,000 unaccompanied children running away from the Syrian civil war.
A number of politicians and charities have been requesting Britain to take refugees.
Immigration Minister James Brokenshire said the UK government was going to work with the UN high commissioner for refugees. “We have asked the UNHCR to identify the exceptional cases where a child’s best interests are served by resettlement to the UK and help us to bring them here,” The Guardian quoted the minister as saying.
There are around 26,000 unaccompanied migrant children in Europe. Former Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron and Save the Children have been asking for the UK government’s help to protect those children.
Such children are vulnerable to being used as cheap labour. They are also likely to be exploited by prostitution rings and human traffickers.
In 2015 alone, around 1,000 unaccompanied migrant children went missing in Italy.
Britain’s decision comes soon after British Prime Minister David Cameron was criticised for using inflammatory language for migrants. He referred to the people at the camp in Calais as a “bunch of migrants.”
“They met with a bunch of migrants in Calais they said they could all come to Britain,” the Huffington Post quoted the British PM as talking about Labour politicians during PMQs on Wednesday. “The only people they never stand up for are the British people and hardworking taxpayers.”
According to the Home Office, the UNHCR have experts working in the conflict zones in the Middle East. They will be “asked to identify exceptional cases of unaccompanied children whose needs cannot be met in the region and whose best interests would be met with protection in the UK.”