‘Child migrant’ from Calais Jungle boasts of being 22 on a dating website


  • Haris Stanikzai was among the first 14 children to arrive from the Jungle
  • He told UK authorities he was 16 years of age but had no documentation 
  • His LinkedIn profile claims he is in the third year of an accounting degree
  • A profile on an internet dating website claimed Stanikzai was 22 years old

Darren Boyle for MailOnline

A row has blown up over a migrant who came to Britain as a ‘child refugee’ but has since been accused of being 22 and having a LinkedIn profile.  

Haris Stanikzai was among the first 14 child migrants to arrive in London from the Calais Jungle on October 17. 

Reports over the weekend showed the youngster’s beard in a photograph on online business network LinkedIn as well as a dating website account which claimed he was 22.

Stanikzai’s family deny the allegations he had lied about his age and insist he is willing to be tested to prove he was just 16.

After his arrival in Britain, Stanikzai has said he was 16 – but he had been given an ‘official’ date of birth that makes him 17.

The Afghan, who does not have a birth certificate, said the Home Office told him that he was born on January 1, 1999.

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Haris Stanikzai, pictured on his Google+ account, told UK authorities that he was 16 when he was evacuated from the Jungle camp in Calais, although social media accounts claim he is 22

Haris Stanikzai, pictured on his Google+ account, told UK authorities that he was 16 when he was evacuated from the Jungle camp in Calais, although social media accounts claim he is 22

Haris Stanikzai, pictured on his Google+ account, told UK authorities that he was 16 when he was evacuated from the Jungle camp in Calais, although social media accounts claim he is 22

Stanikzai, left, this image, right on his LinkedIn page claiming to be a university student

Speaking through is uncle in south London, as he has very poor English, Stanikzai said his brother Hamid, who died last year, had used the photograph on the dating profile because he was better looking. 

His uncle Jan Ghazi, 37, denied reports that his nephew, Haris Stanikzai, who he claims is 16 or just turned 17, enrolled in accounting and finance at Jahan University in Afghanistan more than three years ago.

Ghazi, who works at a pizza takeaway in south London, said: ‘I spoke to Haris’s mum, Adela, who is still in Afghanistan, she said to me that he was in the university.

‘But she said that two years ago, he went to one of Jahan’s campuses to go to English classes around two years ago.

‘It was a night school. But after two or three lessons, they didn’t let him get admission into those classes because it is not safe to travel through the night.

‘That’s the story that his mum told me on the phone. His mum says it was about two years ago.

‘The Home Office found his age as 17. They have three hours of interviews, they say he is 17, but from my side, he is less than 17, the reason why this is because you have to convert the UK calendar to the Afghan calendar it is different.

‘I believe he is 17 or nearly 17. In Afghanistan we don’t have a genuine certificate to show the year and month.’ 

Stanikzai, left, pictured hugging his uncle Jan Ghazi, right, was given a document from the Home Office claiming he was 17, and was one of the first 14 migrant children to arrive last week

Stanikzai, left, pictured hugging his uncle Jan Ghazi, right, was given a document from the Home Office claiming he was 17, and was one of the first 14 migrant children to arrive last week

Stanikzai, left, pictured hugging his uncle Jan Ghazi, right, was given a document from the Home Office claiming he was 17, and was one of the first 14 migrant children to arrive last week

Stanikzai, left, pictured with his uncle Jan Ghazi, right, at his new home in South London 

Stanikzai, left, pictured with his uncle Jan Ghazi, right, at his new home in South London 

Stanikzai, left, pictured with his uncle Jan Ghazi, right, at his new home in South London 

Stanikzai was one of the first child migrants to arrive in Britain following the deal with French authorities after the Dubs amendment to fast-track the claims of unaccompanied minors. 

However, as soon as Stanikzai and his fellow migrants arrived, there was considerable controversy as many appeared to be far older than children.  

Ghazi, who lives with his wife, their three young children and Haris in Wallington, south London, said: ‘The Sunday Times reporter said he had contacted the University and that he was in his seventh semester.

‘I said I had to talk to my sister to get all the information.’

Ghazi claims he has contacted Jahan University himself and that an official told him they had no records of Haris Stanikzai enrolling in accounting and finance.

Addressing the other allegations of the LinkedIn account and dating profiles, Jan claims Haris’s older brother, Hamid, who died in Afghanistan, around a year ago, when he was 22.

He said this was because Haris was the more attractive sibling and that Hamid may have made a mistake by accidentally putting his brother’s name on the account as a joke. 

Ghazi said: ‘He [Hamid] put in his brother’s picture to impress women, because in the family he is the only one who looks nice. A lot of people like his eyes for some reason. This is not unusual in Afghanistan.

‘His brother’s social media accounts are all linked in together by one email, so that is why they are all the same.

‘The name might have been a mistake. It might have been a joke.’

But he was unable to say whether Hamid had studied the university courses advertised on the Linkedin profile, responding: ‘I don’t think so, know. I haven’t asked his mum.

‘If you have a child from Afghanistan 14 or 15 years old and a child from the UK of the same age, you will see a lot of difference in how they look.

‘A child in Afghanistan has grown up in the war, they have spent their lives scared of bombs, their families have died.

‘Haris’s siblings have all died. He’s been through a lot of problems, he’s been walking in the mountains and in the jungle.

‘When you look at him, he will look older because he has been through a lot of trauma. He’s been beaten by smugglers, not given food to eat.

‘You might think he looks 20. I’m extremely shocked that people have said he is older than he is.

‘When I came to this country I was very happy with the people.

‘When I went to the Home Office at Lunar House, it had been a dream and now it was real.

‘It was shocking when they said he was over 18, it was shocking, because people from my country would say he was 16.’ 

Stanikzai, pictured on his Twitter profile, right, insists he is 16 and has been given documents from the Home Office to state that he was born on January 1, 1999 in line with UN policy

Gesturing to his four-year-old son, he said: ‘Maybe tomorrow, they will say he is over 18.’

Asked whether he would be happy for Haris to have dental checks to prove his age, Jan said: ‘Absolutely, I would.

‘It is not humane, it will make me more angry and more upset, but if they want obviously, I am not saying no.

‘This is something for them, if they want to do it.

‘I’d be willing to put him through that to show he is 16 or 17.’

However Ghazi admitted some of the migrants seen in pictures, looked older than children.

Ghazi, pictured at his new home, must report on a fortnightly basis to an immigration centre

Ghazi, pictured at his new home, must report on a fortnightly basis to an immigration centre

Ghazi, pictured at his new home, must report on a fortnightly basis to an immigration centre

He said: ‘I have seen some of the child refugees who look older, some of them do look older.

‘It’s not my job to say whether they are older, I can’t tell.’

Ghazi says he is preparing a form to help his nephew claim asylum which is due in mid-November.

He says he has not received a call from the Home Office since today’s allegations were published.

After asking Haris how he felt, Ghazi said: ‘He says ‘I am very sad when I read about it.

‘He wants to be a doctor when he is older.

‘He can’t go to school at the moment until the Home Office forms are sorted.’

Stanikzai, is among almost 300 migrants who have benefited from the Dubs amendment

Stanikzai, is among almost 300 migrants who have benefited from the Dubs amendment

Stanikzai, is among almost 300 migrants who have benefited from the Dubs amendment

French officials confirmed Britain has so far accepted almost 300 child migrants since they started to demolish the Jungle camp. 

The Home Office told MailOnline that they do not comment on individual cases. 

According to an agreement drawn up between French and British authorities, physical appearance and demeanour will be assessed to identify an individual’s age in the absence of documentary evidence. 

In cases where there is no documentary evidence, but the individual is judged to be a minor, they will be assigned the date January 1 in the year of their birth on all offical documentation in accordance with UNHCR rules. 

If a migrant is found to be over the age of 18, they will be processed through the adult system. 

Under the current system, unaccompanied minors who do not qualify for asylum are granted leave to remain for 30 months – or until they reach 17 and a half if there is no ‘safe and adequate’ arrangements in their home country. 

However, these individuals can apply for ‘leave to remain’ which will be ‘considered on a case-by-case basis’.

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‘Child migrant’ from Calais Jungle boasts of being 22 on a dating website

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