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Proposals for Reformed European Asylum System

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The European Commission has presented options to reform the Common European Asylum System.

The First Vice-President of the European Commission stated "the refugee crisis has shown the weaknesses in our Common European Asylum System… we need a sustainable system for the future, based on common rules, a fairer sharing of responsibility, and safe legal channels for those who need protection to get it in the EU."

The current rules state that the first country an asylum seeker arrives in is responsible for examining their application. These rules have been severely tested due to the pressure placed on Greece and Italy by the numbers of people who have entered Europe through those countries.

The two options proposed are:

  • Streamline and supplement the existing rules by adding a “corrective fairness mechanism” so that in times of crisis, where disproportionate pressure is placed on arrival countries, asylum seekers would be distributed across the EU.

  • Create an entirely new redistribution system based on a country’s size, wealth and ability to absorb asylum seekers.

Any amendment to the current system will need to be agreed by EU member states and the European parliament.

The UK has opt-outs from EU asylum policy. However, should the current rules be scrapped, this could impact the UK government’s ability to return asylum seekers to the first country they arrive in.

For advice and assistance on claiming asylum in the UK, or for any other immigration enquiry, please contact our Immigration Team on 020 7091 2700.

Please note that Fisher Meredith does not offer free legal advice about immigration or asylum matters. Asylum seekers may be eligible to receive free advice through Legal Aid at other law firms or advice centres.

This article is intended as a general update on the law – no reliance should be placed on it without specific legal advice.

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