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Asylum Seekers

Volume 300: debated on Friday 7 November 1997

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, pursuant to his answers and those of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, of 27 October Official Report, column 572, which articles of the Dublin convention 1991 (a) negate the terms of the Asylum Act 1996 and (b) make it more complex and more difficult to implement the bi-lateral agreement that allows the United Kingdom to return economic migrants to France. [13702]

The Dublin Convention provides criteria for determining which member state should consider an asylum application made in the European Union and procedures for transferring applicants between member states. Where another member state accepts that it is responsible for an application made in the United Kingdom, the Secretary of State can refuse and remove the applicant to that State, making use, where appropriate, of the provisions of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 concerning safe third country asylum cases. As a matter of international law, we are unable to remove asylum seekers to European Union member states on safe third country grounds other than in accordance with the Dublin Convention.The readmission agreement we have with France explicitly provides for its provisions to be superseded by the Dublin Convention in so far as they apply to asylum seekers. It remains possible to return persons to France under the readmission agreement where they are not asylum seekers and do not meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules.