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Schengen Agreement: Illegal Immigrants

Volume 486: debated on Tuesday 13 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment her Department has made of the likely effect on levels of illegal immigration into the European Union as a result of Switzerland joining the Schengen area. (244114)

Switzerland has been evaluated during the course of 2008 and was found to fulfil the conditions for the practical application of the relevant parts of the Schengen Acquis.

This is a demanding process involving the completion of an extensive questionnaire, written and oral reports and visits by expert committees. The process is designed to ensure that countries joining the Schengen system comply fully with its requirements, including the effective management of external border operations in order to prevent illegal immigration.

The process is overseen by the EU's Schengen Evaluation Working Group, attended Home Office Officials, which reports to the JHA Council. The reports are classified; therefore they are not made available to the European Parliament or to national parliaments.