Asylum: Greece

Home Office written question – answered on 25th May 2016.

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Photo of Thangam Debbonaire Thangam Debbonaire Shadow Minister (Culture, Media and Sport)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what plans the Government has to accelerate the process of identifying and processing people who are eligible for family reunification transfers from Greece to other EU countries under the Dublin III Regulation in addition to the two UK experts already sent to Greece to support Greek immigration officials dealing with applications under Dublin III Regulation and a further one to be deployed in May.

Photo of James Brokenshire James Brokenshire Minister of State (Home Office) (Security and Immigration)

As notified in my statement of 21 April, HCWS687, 75 UK expert personnel will be deployed to Greece to support implementation of the EU-Turkey Migration Agreement and will conduct a number of duties. A proportion of the UK expert personnel will work closely with European Asylum Support Officer (EASO) coordinators and the Greek Asylum Service to process cases through the admissibility process and provide expert support to the Greek authorities and other EU partners on overall co-ordination of the response. Supporting the operation of the Greek asylum service is a fundamental part of this Government’s approach to identifying individuals in need of protection at the earliest possible opportunity and ensuring they are identified as eligible for family reunification consideration under the terms of Dublin Regulation.

This is in addition to the support that we are already providing to European partner Dublin Units. Two UK experts have already been deployed to the Greek Dublin Unit and have provided valuable assistance. A third was due to be deployed, however, EASO has informed us that support to the Greek Dublin Unit is currently at full complement. We stand ready to deploy our experts as soon as they are required. We are confident that through our cooperation and concerted joint efforts we can identify and facilitate the swift transfers of cases through our national systems and make effective use of the Dublin Regulation.

As announced on 4 May we are now looking to transfer children who were already present in Europe before the EU-Turkey deal came into force on 20 March, where it is in their best interests. It is important that we ensure we fulfil our obligations to children who are already in UK, as well ensuring we have the right support for those who may be brought to the UK from Europe. We are working with the relevant Member States, the UNHCR and other Non-Governmental Organisations and local authorities to establish the best way to implement the provisions of the Immigration Act 2016 for the transfer of unaccompanied refugee children from Europe to the UK.

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