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Immigration and Asylum Act 1999

Section 11: Removal of asylum claimants under standing arrangements with member States

59.This section replaces section 2 of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996 insofar as it applies to asylum seekers transferred to other Member States under standing EU arrangements for determining responsibility for asylum seekers. These standing arrangements are currently provided for by the Dublin Convention. Article 63 of the Treaty of Amsterdam provides that there should be a new measure in this field within the next five years. This may replace the Dublin Convention.

60.Section 11 is intended to deal with the fact, identified in the White Paper, that many Dublin Convention cases have been subject to unnecessary and lengthy delay as a result of judicial review applications which challenge the safety of the transfer. Like section 2 of the 1996 Act, this new section requires that nothing shall prevent the removal of an applicant provided that the Secretary of State certifies that certain requirements are met. These requirements are that the claimant is not a national of the receiving State and that the receiving State has accepted that it is responsible for considering the asylum claim.

61.Under section 2(2)(b) and 2(2)(c) of the Asylum and Immigration Act 1996, the Secretary of State was required to certify that the following conditions had been satisfied: (i) that the receiving State should be one where the person’s life or liberty would not be threatened by reason of his race, religion, nationality, social group or political opinion; and (ii) that the receiving State should be one from which the person would not be sent to another country otherwise than in accordance with the 1951 Refugee Convention. Given that section 11 replaces section 2 of the 1996 Act insofar as it applies to EU Member States, the Secretary of State will no longer be required to certify as to these two matters where the transfer is to take place under standing EU arrangements.

62.In addition, section 11 requires that removal may not proceed if there is an appeal outstanding in respect of a claim that the transfer would be in breach of the Human Rights Act 1998, or the period within which such an appeal should be lodged has not yet expired. In accordance with section 72, this requirement does not apply where the Secretary of State has certified that such a claim is manifestly unfounded.

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