Migrant children irregularly present can be ordered to leave EU territory under the Return Directive, even if they are unaccompanied, under certain conditions, including respect for the best interests of the child. The bar chart below shows that children represented 4 % of the total number of third-country nationals ordered to leave in 2019 and 3 % of the total number of third-country nationals returned from the EU. More than 4 000 children were returned from the EU in 2019, including 2 500 children under 14 years of age, with a clear predominance of boys in relation to girls (65 % of the children returned were boys). It is also noteworthy that the age of a significant proportion of the third-country nationals ordered to leave (16 %) and returned (17 %) from the EU is unknown, so it is impossible to determine if any of them were under the age of 18.
Children ordered to leave the EU and returned in 2019
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