Four Syrian refugees who had been living in the migrant camp known as the “Jungle” near Calais have arrived in the UK after a legal ruling.
An immigration judge ruled on Wednesday that the three teenagers and a mentally ill man were entitled to come to the UK to join relatives already living here.
One of the group urged refugees waiting to enter Britain to “have faith”.
He said they should see his case as proof there was a way to reach the UK “legally and safely”.
The group of three teenagers, and a 26-year-old man with severe mental health issues, were told at the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal that they could enter the UK and stay while their asylum applications are processed.
Syrian teenagers win UK asylum ruling
The refugees, who all fled the Syrian civil war and had been living in the camp for at least two months, will live with their relatives in the UK while their claims are considered.
One of the boys in the group, a 17-year-old who cannot be named for legal reasons, was reunited at London’s St Pancras station with his older brother, who he last saw in war-torn Syria and was smuggled into the UK in a tomato lorry.
Describing the moment, he said: “I feel so thankful because I would never have imagined I would be reunited with my brother.”
The teen also thanked his legal team, who used human rights legislation to argue the group should be immediately taken out of the “intolerable” conditions of the “Jungle”.
He said: “I thank every person who was part of this process – they have saved lives. They have saved people from death… I thank Britain as a whole.”
The refugees’ legal team successfully argued that bureaucratic delays in France meant their cases should be handed over to the UK, where they all have relatives legally living.
At least one of the group is expected to join relatives in Scotland.
Under European rules, known as Dublin III, asylum seekers must claim asylum in the first country they reach.
Those who have a relative living legally in another European country do have a legal entitlement to then apply to seek asylum there, but only if they have already been processed by the first country.
It is thought the case could pave the way for many other refugees in the Calais camp to be brought to Britain.