The Equality Challenge
Edited by Sonia Morano-Foadi and Micaela Malena
Chapter 5: The United Kingdom’s implementation of the EU asylumseekers’ Reception Directive
This chapter is concerned with the United Kingdom’s (UK) transposition and implementation of the Reception Directive 2003/9/EC. The Reception Directive is one of the five pieces of European legislation, together with the Temporary Protection Directive, the Dublin II Regulation, the Asylum Procedures Directive and the Qualification Directive, setting common minimum standards for asylum matters in all Member States. The aim of the Reception Directive is to ensure thatasylum-seekers enjoy ‘a dignified standard of living and comparable living conditions in all Member States’. Reception conditions are important because the circumstances of an asylum-seeker’s departure from the country of persecution, or from serious harm, often makes that person destitute and vulnerable. Reception conditions become the basis of asylum-seekers’ survival and integration from their first day of arrival in the country of refuge until a final decision is taken on their asylum application. Although all Member States, except Ireland and Denmark who opted out, transposed the Reception Directive into national legislation by 6 February 2005, guaranteeing adequate reception services remains a challenge. In fact, asylum-seekers’ access to social goods has been one of the most contentious issues in the political agenda of all European countries in the last ten years. Member States, being mainly concerned with immigration control and deterrence measures, did not want to introduce an obligation to provide asylum-seekers with living conditions comparable to those of EU citizens. Despite its general reference to the non-discrimination principle, the Reception Directive limits the right to work and accords significantly less advantageous benefi ts to asylum-seekers when compared to EU citizens.
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