Reality Check: Will migrants be allowed to claim UK asylum in France?

The claim: A French official says people living in the Calais camp known as the Jungle should be able to apply for asylum in the UK at a "hotspot" in France rather than wait to reach the UK.

Reality Check verdict: A deal to allow UK asylum claims in France could go ahead only if both the UK and France wanted it. With the UK strongly opposed to it, it is highly unlikely that such an agreement will ever see the light of day.

France and the UK are currently bound by the Le Touquet agreement, a deal they signed in 2003, which established UK immigration checks on French territory. Under the agreement, passengers are checked before they embark on cross-Channel services.

The checks have stopped irregular migrants from reaching the UK, but they have also led, in part, to the establishment of the "Jungle", the migrant camp in Calais.

The agreement can be terminated by the UK or the French government, after six months' notice.

Le Touquet is not an EU agreement and is therefore not automatically affected by Brexit.

However, following the UK's vote to leave the EU, French centre-right politicians such as Calais regional leader Xavier Bertrand and former French president and 2017 presidential hopeful Nicolas Sarkozy have called for changes to the current agreement.

In particular, Xavier Bertrand suggested those wishing to apply for asylum in the UK should not have to wait to reach the UK territory but should be able to do so at a "hotspot" in France.

There is no precedent for such "hotspots" anywhere in the EU.

Germany asylum

The migration crisis put a high burden on countries such as Greece and Italy, the main point of entry into the EU.

To help them cope with the high number of daily arrivals, the EU established a system of "hotspots" where the initial registration of those who arrive is carried out. The asylum seekers are not able to make an asylum application to another EU country at the hotspot.

The rules for asylum applications within the EU were established by the Dublin Regulation (or Dublin Convention), which says that the responsibility for registering and assessing asylum applications falls to the country through which the asylum seeker first enters the EU.

In August 2015, German Chancellor Angela Merkel's government announced it would consider asylum cases from most Syrian applicants, regardless of how they entered the EU, effectively abolishing the Dublin Convention for those wanting to apply for asylum in Germany.

This was Germany's own decision, not one that was forced upon it by another country. Those wishing to apply for asylum in Germany still have to reach German territory first. They are not able to apply for German asylum anywhere else in the EU.

The British government has expressed a strong opposition to the idea of allowing people to claim UK asylum in France. It is therefore highly unlikely that such a deal will ever see the light of day.

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