Indeed, the United Kingdom has already concluded bilateral agreements with France and other countries: the Treaty of Le Touquet stipulates that an asylum application to a British official carrying out border checks in a French port falls within the competence of France. In March 2020, travel between most European countries was suspended to stop the spread of COVID-19. While the Dublin Regulation was still in force, most transfers between Dublin Member States were suspended from mid-March. One of the objectives of the regulation is to ensure that a person does not make multiple asylum claims in several Dublin Member States. These include the Member States of the EU, Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Liechtenstein. The United Kingdom is bound by the Dublin Regulation until 31 December 2020. After the end of the transition period, it may therefore be easier to get France and other EU countries to accept the return of asylum seekers from UK territory if contracts are concluded. Conversely, in the absence of such contracts, things may be more difficult. Time will tell which one. We want a close partnership in the future to address the common challenges of asylum and illegal immigration. Section 17 of the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018 obliges the government to negotiate an agreement with the EU allowing unaccompanied children of an asylum seeker in the EU to join family members legally residing in the UK, where it is in their best interest.
This obligation applies regardless of whether we leave the EU with or without an agreement. The implementation of transfers is based on the replacement of an agreement and we are working to negotiate such an agreement as quickly as possible. While the Dublin system assumes that participating countries are “safe”, the jurisprudence of the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights considers this presumption to be rebuttable, either where there is a systemic problem with a Member State`s asylum system (NS and MSS), or where there are problems for some asylum seekers who pose a real risk of torture or inhuman or degrading treatment (Tarakhel and CK). Under the Dublin Regulation, families and relatives separated from a different European country can be reunited while applying for asylum. Unaccompanied children can apply to join a parent, legal guardian or sibling, aunt, uncle or grandparent living in Europe. Adults may apply to join family members (spouse/partner or children) in another Dublin country if the family member is an asylum seeker or refugee or has received subsidiary protection. In June, travel and border restrictions were lifted across Europe, allowing countries to resume transfers from Dublin. On 24 June 2020, the European Asylum Support Office told InfoMigrants: “Member States have stated that they plan to gradually organise more transfers from Dublin in the coming weeks, taking into account public health and safety measures.” However, the Dublin system is based on the idea that an application should only be considered once by one of the participating countries and, if necessary, sets criteria for determining the country concerned and a process for transferring the persons concerned to that country.