United Kingdom

Country Report: Dublin Last updated: 24/04/24


Refugee Council Visit Website

The UK left the EU on 31 January 2020 but remained subject to the Dublin Regulation during the transition period, i.e. for requests made until 23h00 on 31 December 2020 (UK time). For information about the Dublin procedure in the UK while it was still subject to the Dublin regulation, see previous updates to this country report.

Cases introduced after the transition period can be treated under the new inadmissibility rules on safe third countries. “The rules allow an inadmissibility decision to be taken on the basis of a person’s earlier presence in or connection to a safe third country, even if that particular country will not immediately agree to the persons return.” The guidance on inadmissibility of asylum claims explains that: “the safe countries most likely to be identified in asylum claims will be the UK’s near neighbours in the EU. Other EU member states, the wider EEA countries (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) and Switzerland may also be identified, as may country such as the United States of America, Canada, Australia and New Zealand” (see further under Admissibility procedure).

The UK has indicated it would attempt to negotiate returns agreements with individual EU member states,[1] as of the time of this update, without success.

During the passage of the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020, the government agreed to publish the existing routes for family reunification in the UK. This was fulfilled on 31 December with a document outlining existing routes to family reunification in the UK (most not specific to refugee or people seeking asylum).[2] This document was archived as out of date in 2023, by which time legislation had changed the validity of the contents. The government also committed to a review of safe and legal routes to the UK and in February 2021 it fulfilled its obligation to update parliament with routes available to reunite families, which was a reiteration of the December 2020 document.[3]

Section 61 of the Illegal Migration Act 2023 required the government to publish a report on safe and legal routes to the UK, to include details of any proposed additional safe and legal routes which were not yet operational.[4] The only proposed change in the published report was to place a cap on the number of refugees accepted by the UK.[5]



[1] Hansard, House of Lords: Immigration, Nationality and Asylum (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, 18 March 2019, available at: https://tinyurl.com/5dm3kp4s.

[2] Overview of family reunion options in the Immigration Rules: see: https://bit.ly/36fdReH.

[3] Home Office, ‘Statement in relation to legal routes from the EU for protection claimants including family reunion of unaccompanied children (accessible version)’, 8 February 2021, available at: https://bit.ly/3qqmp9P.

[4] Section 61 of the Illegal Migration Act 2023, available at: https://bit.ly/3SMCdUQ.

[5] Safe and legal routes, available at: https://bit.ly/49tMtZ5.

Table of contents

  • Statistics
  • Overview of the legal framework
  • Overview of the main changes since the previous report update
  • Asylum Procedure
  • Reception Conditions
  • Detention of Asylum Seekers
  • Content of International Protection