EU rejects UK plea to allow asylum seeker returns after Brexit

21 August 2020, 06:20

Record numbers of migrants have been making the perilous crossing in recent months
Record numbers of migrants have been making the perilous crossing in recent months. Picture: PA
EJ Ward

By EJ Ward

The UK is set to lose its ability to send asylum seekers back to other EU countries after the Brexit transition period ends, according to reports.

EU negotiators have rejected a British request for a migration pact that would allow the government to return asylum seekers to other European countries.

British negotiators reported requested new rules similar to the Dublin Regulation, which binds EU member states to process certain asylum claims at the request of their neighbours.

The provision is used regularly by the UK to turn back refugees arriving on the south coast after travelling overland through France and other European countries.

According to reports, on Friday, the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier is expected to speak out on the situation which has seen an increasing number of migrant boats landing on the Kent coast over the last few weeks.

With the current rules certain asylum seekers can be returned to the member state where they first entered the EU even if they claimed asylum in another country such as the UK.

UK vows action after record-high migrant sea crossings

The Guardian newspaper reported that this provision, which is continuing through the transition period, is now very unlikely to be extended, with Brussels rejecting demands for a similar agreement to be put in place after Brexit.

More than 4,100 people have crossed the Channel in small boats so far this year, with record numbers of migrants reaching the UK in one day.

At least 164 migrants - including children - reached Britain on Wednesday in 11 boats, the Home Office has confirmed.