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Immigration: EU Law

Volume 482: debated on Wednesday 5 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the UK’s responsibilities are under the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum agreed at the recent meeting of the European Council. (231731)

The Migration Pact is a political statement which reaffirms priorities on immigration and asylum for the EU and member states. It contains statements of principle to which EU member states collectively should have regard in EU policy-making, such as a political commitment to avoid mass regularisation. We welcome the messages on returns, strong borders and combating illegal immigration. We also welcome the emphasis on legal migration that meets the needs of our countries.

The pact is not a legislative text and subsequent proposals for legislation on immigration and asylum resulting from the pact will be subject to the UK’s Opt In Protocol.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provisions exist in the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum to help share the burden of immigration more fairly amongst member states. (231732)

The Migration Pact promotes a number of ways to help show solidarity in dealing with immigration and asylum, including cooperation between member states in controlling illegal immigration. The pact also includes the possibility of continuing arrangements for intra EU relocation of recognised refugees for those member states which are faced with specific and disproportionate pressures on their national asylum systems. Any intra EU relocation of refugees will be on a voluntary basis. The EU Solidarity Mechanism funds will continue to support any burden sharing.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the timetable is for developing a common asylum and immigration policy as a result of the European Pact on Immigration and Asylum; and if she will make a statement. (231733)

The Migration Pact itself does not lay down a timetable for a common European asylum and immigration policy, but sets out a series of commitments for member states and the EU as a whole.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions have taken place with other EU member states on the proposed blue card immigration system and its potential effect on the UK. (231734)

The blue card directive was discussed, without agreement, at the JHA Council on 25 September. On 22 October the directive was agreed at the COREPER ambassadors meeting and political agreement is likely to be reached at the November JHA Council.

Given that we have decided not to opt into the directive, any movement rights between member states obtained by a third country national through it would not apply to the UK.

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the proposed Europe-wide blue card immigration system would supersede existing immigration controls, with particular reference to the points-based immigration system; and if she will make a statement. (231735)

The UK is introducing its points based system as a fundamental part of delivering our improved immigration system. We have concluded that the blue card directive is not as flexible as the PBS. The UK decided not to opt in to the directive. For further details on the blue card I refer the right hon. Member to the Explanatory Memorandum deposited on 11 July 2008.