Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019 - Motion to Approve

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 6:09 pm on 18th March 2019.

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Photo of Baroness Lister of Burtersett Baroness Lister of Burtersett Labour 6:09 pm, 18th March 2019

My Lords, the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee states that the Home Office anticipates that loss of provisions of the Dublin regulations will have a minimal impact on how those seeking asylum in the UK are handled, yet the British Red Cross, which does invaluable work with asylum seekers in the UK, has raised real concerns in its briefing. I propose to raise just one—that which it says concerns it most.

As I understand it, the Government have committed only to maintaining the Dublin III regulation for unaccompanied children. Of course, that is welcome. However, it will leave many who are currently able to use Dublin III’s family reunion provisions excluded. In 2018, of 1,215 Dublin III arrivals, only 159 were unaccompanied children under Article 8, and 869 were wider family reunion cases under Article 9, which allows people who claim asylum in another Dublin member state to join a relative in the UK who has been granted protection. Will the Minister give a commitment that the Government will retain these Dublin protections in our domestic law post Brexit? I believe that this would require an amendment to our family reunion legislation. This would give substance to the Home Office’s assurance that loss of the Dublin provision will have minimal impact—or, in the words of the Explanatory Memorandum,

“a small impact on net asylum transfers”.

If the 2018 pattern continues, we would otherwise be excluding more than 70% of Dublin III arrivals if this commitment is not given. Is this really what the Government intend?