EU negotiators have recently rejected the UK’s proposal for a provision which would allow the UK Government to return asylum seekers to EU member states through which they transited before reaching the UK.
The UK was seeking to continue the regime provided by European Regulation 604/2013, known as the “Dublin III Regulation”, following Brexit. The Dublin III Regulation seeks to ensure that individuals seeking to claim asylum must do so in the first EU member state that they enter by designating that particular state as being responsible for processing that individual’s claim. The implication of this is that the Dublin III Regulation allows asylum seekers to be transferred back to a previous EU member state if they subsequently travel to other member states and make a claim. It therefore aims to prevent what the Home Office calls ‘asylum shopping’, which is the perception that some asylum seekers travel through several jurisdictions in order to claim asylum in a particular country.
In 2018 (the last full data available) the UK made nearly three times as many requests to remove asylum seekers to other EU member states than it received. Despite this, the UK was in fact a net recipient in terms of how many of these requests were implemented, with 1,215 (63% of 1,940) being sent to the UK from other member states compared with only 209 individuals (4% of 5,510) being removed from the UK.
The rejection of this proposal comes in the wake of a sharp increase in the number of migrants attempting to cross the English Channel by boats from France. It is speculated that the UK may attempt to negotiate a new bilateral agreement with France as a means of returning those attempting to enter the UK in this manner after Brexit.
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