Dublin agreement on returning asylum seekers is almost completely useless

March 09, 2018

Around 50% more asylum seekers were transferred to the UK under the Dublin Regulation than were sent back from Britain to other European countries over the past two years.

That is the finding of a new Migration Watch UK briefing paper (MW444 - Transfers of asylum seekers from the UK under the Dublin system) being released today.

Home Office figures reveal that, while there were a total of 676 returns from the UK to other European countries under the rules in 2016 and 2017, 1,019 people were transferred to the UK. The balance has shifted since 2015, when 131 people were transferred in the UK against 510 people who were transferred out.

The Home Office also revealed that 461 transfers in to the UK which occurred in 2017, against 314 transfers out, came despite the fact that there were over twice as many requests for transfers out (5,712) than requests by other countries to transfer people to the UK (2,137).

It has also emerged that only one in ten of UK requests for the return of asylum seekers under the EU’s Dublin regulations in 2016 led to actual transfers to other European countries (according to a recent Parliamentary Answer).

Eurostat figures revealed that, although the UK made a total of 4,200 transfer requests under the Dublin III regulation in 2016 (more than in any other year since 2008), only 360 transfers from the UK actually occurred (nearly half of these to Germany and Italy).

Meanwhile, the number of enforced removals of asylum seekers to other EU countries, a large proportion of which are likely to be Dublin transfers, fell by more than half between 2008 and 2017, according to Home Office figures.

Commenting, Alp Mehmet, Vice Chairman of Migration Watch UK said:

These figures suggest that the Dublin agreement has become virtually useless for the UK. We have seriously to consider whether its continuation serves British interests.

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