Immigration Rules: Supported Accommodation

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:45 pm on 16th December 2020.

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Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department 12:45 pm, 16th December 2020

On the Select Committee Chair’s question about accommodation and support, I can confirm that it will be available, as I have said already, because not to provide it would breach article 3. That support will be available and people will not fall into destitution.

On the negotiations, back in May—I believe it was 19 May—we tabled an EU proposal on these matters, but if that is not agreed to in the course of the current discussions, we will seek bilateral agreements with various countries. As I said to the right hon. Lady’s Committee a week or two ago, individual member states have been asked by the Commission not to engage in such discussions while the European negotiations are ongoing, so we will commence those as soon as we are able to. Even in the absence of those discussions, it is possible to raise returns cases on a case-by-case basis with member states, which, of course, we can do from 1 January. Critically, the new provisions prepare the way—they lay the foundations—for agreements that we may reach in future, besides facilitating case-by-case action.

Finally, although currently in force, the Dublin regulations have not been terribly effective. The right hon. Lady will know that the numbers we successfully return under Dublin are really rather small, numbering in the low hundreds per year. I am confident that, through active negotiation, not only can we replace Dublin but we can improve on it.