Dr. Reuven (Ruvi) Ziegler, Associate Professor in International Refugee Law and member of LD4SOS Council writes :

In the area of asylum, the UK government’s Brexit white paper is an alchemy of cakeism and Chutzpah:

It seeks to retain the elements of the ‘Dublin III’ system of allocation of responsibility for determining protection claims that the government likes, namely the general ability to retain refugees to their first EU country of entry (via the EURODAC identification system); and to remain involved in EU controversial engagements with third countries that prevent asylum-seekers from reaching Europe.

All the same, as the government repeatedly states, it refuses to commit to European Court of Justice jurisdiction, presumably including over matters of asylum; and there is no mention of the UK’s continued adherence to other Common European Asylum System standards that it is currently bound by e.g. in respect of the grant of subsidiary protection status.

In general, and contrary to the spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees, the paper frames asylum as a security threat and seeks a role for the UK in fending off that threat.

He says that the paper should cover :

  1. ongoing operational cooperation, for example working with Frontex to strengthen the EU’s external border, and Europol to combat organised immigration crime;
  2. a new legal framework to return illegal migrants and asylum-seekers to a country they have travelled through, or have a connection with, in order to have their protection claim considered, where necessary. People should be prevented from making claims in more than one country, and on multiple occasions. A clear legal structure, facilitated by access to Eurodac (the biometric and fingerprint database used for evidencing secondary asylum claims) or an equivalent system will help achieve this; c. new arrangements that enable unaccompanied asylum-seeking children in the EU to join close family members in the UK, where it is in their best interests and vice versa;
  3. a continued strategic partnership to address the drivers of illegal migration by investing and building cooperation in source and transit countries;
  4. continued UK participation in international dialogues with European and African partners, frameworks, and processes, such as the Rabat and Khartoum Processes, to tackle illegal migration upstream; and
  5. the option to align and work together on potential future funding instruments through the cooperative accord on overseas development assistance and international action outlined in chapter 3.4.


Extract from the White Paper :

2.5.1 Asylum and illegal migration

  1. Properly managed migration brings benefits to local communities and economies. But high levels of illegal migration present a global challenge, enabling organised crime, people trafficking and modern slavery to prosper.
  2. The UK has a significant presence overseas, conducting capacity and capability building in source and transit countries and deconstructing criminal business models, through participation in development programmes and through seconded national experts. It is vital that the UK and the EU establish a new, strategic relationship to address the global challenges of asylum and illegal migration.
  3. The UK therefore proposes a comprehensive, ‘whole of route’ approach that includes interventions at every stage of the migrant journey and ensure no new incentives are created to make dangerous journeys to Europe.