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Asylum: Spain

Volume 493: debated on Wednesday 3 June 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants for asylum entered the UK via Spain and Gibraltar in the last 12 months. (273316)

The UK Border Agency does not record statistics in relation to asylum applicants travelling to the UK via Spain and Gibraltar. The information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost through the examination of individual case files.

Asylum seekers should apply in the first safe country. A safe country is one of which the applicant is not a national or citizen and in which a person's life or liberty is not threatened by reason of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion. It is also one from which a person would not be sent to another state in contravention of his rights under the 1951 Convention relating to the Status of Refugees and the 1967 New York Protocol.

We are countering asylum “shopping” across the EU through the Dublin Regulation and use of the Eurodac database, which helps us to identify and make returns to the responsible member state. Spain is a party to the Dublin Regulation but Gibraltar is not.