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No proposal for UK Asylum Seekers to be processed in Gibraltar – 238/2021

By March 18, 2021 No Comments

Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar can confirm that it has not been proposed to it that UK asylum seekers should be processed in Gibraltar.

Matters relating to immigration to and from Gibraltar are the responsibility of Ministers in Gibraltar under the 2006 Gibraltar Constitution.

Gibraltar legislation (the Immigration, Asylum and Refuge Act) governs the presence of asylum seekers in Gibraltar, not UK law.

The Chief Minister of Her Majesty’s Government of Gibraltar, the Hon Fabian Picardo QC MP, has, as a result, today written to the Home Secretary, Rt Hon Priti Patel, to confirm, therefore, that reports in today’s media are groundless speculation.

Mr Picardo has, in addition to the Constitutional and legal issues that arise, emphasised the geographic limitations of Gibraltar and Gibraltar’s potential new fluidity arrangements with the Schengen area as additional reasons why Gibraltar would be unable to host the processing of asylum seekers to the United Kingdom in Gibraltar.

Additionally, Mr Picardo has said that Gibraltar nonetheless remains ready to work with the United Kingdom Government in any area in which it may be possible, as part of the role Gibraltar plays in the wider UK family of nations, as we already do in many areas. Mr Picardo has reminded Ms Patel of the magnificent support Gibraltar has received from the Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary on matters related to Brexit and COVID-19 generally. He has also suggested that Ms Patel and he should meet when travel restrictions are lifted and he is next in London.

The Chief Minister said: ‘Gibraltar is always ready to help the United Kingdom as part of the British family of nations. We play an important part in defence and are ready to consider any other way we can work with the UK. We have had magnificent help from the UK on the COVID-19 pandemic, from sovereign guarantees to vaccinations provided at no cost. We will not ever shirk our responsibility to help where we can. Our geography makes some things difficult, however, and the processing of asylum seekers to the UK in Gibraltar would be one of them. Immigration is an area of my responsibility as Chief Minister under the Gibraltar Constitution and I can confirm that this issue has not been raised with me at any level. I would have made clear this is not area on which we believe we can assist the UK. I have nonetheless wanted to emphasise to the Home Secretary that we stand ready to help in other areas. I know she is a strong supporter of Gibraltar so I have proposed we should meet in London when travel restrictions are lifted.‘