The European Court of Justice ruled today that the United Kingdom must continue to accept asylum seekers in accordance with European Union law up to the point that Brexit becomes official.
The case stems from a family of three seeking asylum in Ireland. Originally, the family lived in the UK under a student visa for one parent and a dependent visa for the other parent. When the school closed down, both the student and the dependent visa expired. After their visas expired, the family moved to Ireland and filed for asylum there.
Under the Dublin III Regulation, asylum applications are usually handled by the first country the applicants entered the EU through. When Ireland sought to move the case to the UK, the family contested on the grounds of the UK invoking Article 50 TEU. Article 50 governs how an EU member state can withdraw from the union.
The High Court of Ireland issued a stay of proceedings in order to ask the European Court of Justice if invoking Article 50 precludes a current member state of its duties under the Dublin III Regulation. The Court of Justice said it did not.
The Court takes the view that the fact that a Member State, in this case the United Kingdom, which is designated as responsible within the meaning of the Dublin III Regulation, has notified its intention to withdraw from the EU in accordance with Article 50 TEU does not oblige the determining Member State, in this case Ireland, itself to examine, under the discretionary clause, the application for international protection.
Therefore, the UK remains bound by the Dublin III Regulations until Brexit is official.