Brexit immigration bill does not improve border controls
(16 June 2016)
The Vote Leave campaign for Britain to leave the EU proposes that Parliament pass an Asylum and Immigration Control Bill should voters choose Brexit.
The new Bill aims “to end the automatic right of all EU citizens to enter the UK” and so stop uncontrolled EU migration to Britain.
Vote Leave claims this legislation would also end European courts hold on Britain’s asylum policy. Brexit would then bring border restrictions for EU citizens and asylum policy within Parliament’s control if this Bill became law.
These claims are rejected by immigration law experts like Thom Brooks, professor of law and government at Durham University. Brooks says: ‘EU citizens do not have unrestricted rights to come and go across Britain’s border however they like. All freedoms have their limits and EU movement is no exception’.
EU citizens can normally enter the UK for six months. If they fail to get a job or lack any realistic prospect of work or study, they can be deported. More than three thousand EU citizens have been either turned away at the UK’s border or deported since 2010.
Brooks denies the new bill proposed by Vote Leave would create a better asylum policy for the UK as well. ‘Britain is part of the Dublin Regulation that allows us to deport anyone seeking asylum that entered another EU country first like Greece or Italy. If voters choose Brexit, then we leave this EU-wide policy that has benefited Britain’.
The current EU rules on asylum would not apply to the UK if there was Brexit. Refugees coming to Britain would not need to be returned to any other EU country they entered first. Brooks says this raises a concern overlooked by Vote Leave. ‘In making the case for a bill that could reduce net migration’, says Brooks, ‘ they might actually incentivise more asylum seekers to make their claims in Britain knowing there was no possibility of being returned to other EU countries. This change would be counterproductive to Vote Leave’s aims – and without the protections afforded Britain within an EU-wide policy. From EU migration to asylum, we are better in than out of Europe when it comes to immigration policy’.