Thousands of child refugees could bring their relatives to live with them in Britain after a judge ruled that keeping families apart breached their human rights.
Strict Home Office requirements have previously meant only adults who have fled to the UK can apply for relations to join them here.
But the country’s top immigration judge has overturned the rules for the first time by allowing a teenage Eritrean refugee to be reunited with his mother and younger brother, who are still in East Africa.
Last night, there were warnings the ruling could lead to thousands more youngsters applying for relatives overseas to join them in the UK on human rights grounds – and put more children at risk of being sent here by people-smuggling gangs.
More than 4,000 unaccompanied children are already in the care of UK councils having fled conflicts in the Middle East and Africa.
Last month, the Government agreed to take in 3,000 more in refugee camps across Europe, each of whom will cost £50,000 to resettle.
In the light of the new court case, Ministers are rewriting the rules to allow judges more ‘discretion’ in letting relatives into Britain.
Lord Green of Deddington, chairman of Migration Watch, said last night: ‘This case is a matter of concern.
The new case was won by a teenage boy known only as ‘M’, who arrived in Britain by himself aged 16 in 2012, having fled his native Eritrea where his father had been ‘imprisoned for political reasons’.