The report was previously updated in March 2019.
In 2019 discussions on the Brexit continued. The United Kingdom (UK) left the European Union (EU) on 31 January 2020. There is now a transition period until the end of 2020 while the UK and EU negotiate future arrangements. The post 2020 arrangements regarding people seeking asylum, particularly in relation to the Dublin III Regulation, are not yet clear.
- Asylum decision-making: A report entitled “Lessons not Learned: the failures of asylum decision-making in the UK” documents flawed credibility assessments and finds that the current system places an unrealistic and unlawful evidential burden on asylum applicants. It compiles findings from over 50 publications issued over the last fifteen years on the quality of decision-making processes in the UK Home Office. Built on an analysis of over 1,800 asylum cases and 140 interviews, the report charts the consistent failure of the Home Office to implement recommendations to improve procedures.
- Brexit and Dublin: At the beginning of 2019, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) ruled that the UK’s notification of intention to leave the EU does not entail an obligation on other Member States to make use of the sovereignty clause or to take into consideration the best interests of the child and to examine asylum applications themselves. There has been much discussion about the future of the family unity clauses in the Dublin Regulation once the UK leaves the EU.
- Accomodation: Following a tender process new contracts to provide accommodation were approved in January 2019 for a ten-year-period. One of the previous providers has not received a contract this time. In March 2019 the government responded to the Parliamentary Committee’s report about this process and its recommendations for smooth transition.
Detention of asylum seekers
- Detention for the purpose of Dublin transfers: The main development in jurisprudence was the final judgment in the case of applicants detained purely for the purpose of Dublin transfers, from the Supreme Court. On 27 November 2019 the Supreme Court unanimously rejected an appeal by the UK Home Office to overturn a landmark ruling from the Court of Appeal declaring the detention of asylum seekers while their cases were being assessed in the Dublin Procedure unlawful. The case concerns the pre-removal detention of five Iraqi and Afghan nationals during the Dublin procedure. Under the Dublin III regulation only people considered at “significant risk of absconding” can be detained and none of the five people in question were categorized as such by the UK Home Office admission. The ruling could potentially affect thousands of people unlawfully detained during the period between January 2014 when the Dublin III regulation came into force and March 2017 when the UK regulations were changed.
Content of international protection
- Unaccompanied children: The law and policy on section 67 leave for unaccompanied children was changed so that from 1 October 2019 all children brought from elsewhere in the EU to the UK under section 67 of the Immigration Act 2016, will automatically be granted ’section 67 leave’. Section 67 leave is non-protection-based leave and those granted it retain the right to make a claim for asylum.