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Asylum policy after Brexit considered in new report

11 October 2019

The EU Home Affairs Committee publishes its report on Brexit: refugee protection and asylum policy which highlights the potentially significant implications of Brexit for asylum policy, and for vulnerable refugees and asylum seekers in Europe.

Key findings

The most significant implication of UK withdrawal from the EU's Dublin System (which determines responsibility for asylum applications) would be the loss of a safe, legal route for the reunion of separated refugee families in Europe.

The report emphasises the UK and EU's common interest in continuing to work together on asylum after Brexit. Key features of the new relationship should include:

  • A shared agreement on, and commitment to uphold, minimum standards for refugee protection, asylum procedures, qualification, and reception conditions.
  • Continued UK access to the Eurodac database of the fingerprints of asylum seekers.
  • Maintenance of all family reunion routes available under the Dublin System, together with robust procedural safeguards to minimise delays in reuniting separated refugee families.
  • The possibility of UK participation, on a voluntary basis, in any future 'responsibility sharing' mechanism established to relocate asylum seekers across Europe.

Chair's comments

Lord Jay of Ewelme, Chair of the EU Home Affairs Sub-Committee, said:

"The UK has a long and proud history of offering sanctuary to those fleeing conflict and persecution. We must continue to play our part in helping to manage record numbers of forcibly displaced people worldwide, including through continued cooperation with the EU on asylum issues after Brexit.

While the EU's Dublin System is undoubtedly flawed, it provides a useful and more realistic starting point for negotiating this relationship than trying to create new arrangements from scratch. The overriding objectives of future cooperation should be the reunification of separated refugee families as quickly as possible, and the timely, efficient and compassionate processing of asylum claims.

The needs of refugees and asylum seekers have received little attention in the wider debate on UK withdrawal from the EU, but it is essential that they are not overlooked. Neither the UK nor the EU should contemplate vulnerable people who have already experienced trauma facing additional suffering as a result of Brexit."

Further information

Image: PA