GIBRALTAR has not been approached to process UK asylum seekers, its Chief Minister confirmed today.
The statement followed claims in the UK press Gibraltar could be used to process migration claims as it would be outside the UK mainland.
Chief Minister Fabian Picardo added that immigration is an area of responsibility controlled by the Gibraltar Government ministers under the 2006 Constitution.
This would mean that it would be difficult for the UK would to interfere in this process governed by the Immigration, Asylum and Refuge Act.
Picardo has written to UK Home Secretary Priti Patel to point out these points adding that he thought this proposal was ‘groundless speculation’.
The article spoke of recreating a system similar to that of Australia which processes asylum claims in third countries.
The controversial move comes after pressure from right-wing figures like ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
“We will not ever shirk our responsibility to help where we can,” said Picardo.
“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.”
Another reason this would be difficult is that as Gibraltar could soon become a Schengen area, it would make processing of asylum seekers even more complicated.
“I have nonetheless wanted to emphasise to the Home Secretary that we stand ready to help in other areas,” Picardo added.
“I know she is a strong supporter of Gibraltar so I have proposed we should meet in London when travel restrictions are lifted.”
After leaving the EU, the UK is no longer able to send migrants to the place they were first registered in Europe under the harsh Lisbon treaty.
This could mean the UK could in fact end up with more illegal migrants on its shores than when it was inside the EU.