Asked where Tanzania fitted into the UK’s policy on asylum, the PMOS said that this was a pilot scheme which aimed to explore with the Tanzanian Government ways in which we could help them process asylum applications which arose there. This was not about sending back people who had claimed asylum in the UK to have their claims processed in Tanzania. It was about helping Tanzania deal with the influx of people from some of the surrounding African countries by helping with asylum applications and protecting genuine refugees so that these people would be less likely to make secondary movements to the UK. In the same way, we were also exploring ways to help the Tanzanian Government deal with the issue of accepting there failed asylum seekers from here, i.e. Tanzanians or Tanzanians claiming to be Somalis. As the Prime Minister had said in PMQs today, this was just one initiative in dealing with the problem of asylum. It was not a ‘fantasy island’ – nor, he repeated, was it about moving claims from here to there.
Asked to comment on reports that the Home Office had been negotiating a £4m aid deal with Tanzania to take failed Somali asylum seekers, the PMOS said that as the Prime Minister had underlined in the House today, this was not about some crude cash-for-people policy. We had always used Government money to tackle migration and refugee issues through funding UNHCR camps, for example. The Tanzania pilot scheme was simply an extension of that policy. He told journalists to check with the Home Office on funding issues. Asked which other countries were being considered for similar schemes, the PMOS said he did not think it would be particularly helpful at this stage to name them. That said, if the Tanzania pilot was successful and we were able to expand it, the country/ies we were looking at could be in the same area. Asked how we would measure the pilot’s success, the PMOS said that we would be able to see whether the flow of ’secondary’ asylum seekers from Tanzania to the UK would slow down and whether the situation was being managed more effectively by the Tanzanian authorities who obviously had to deal with a difficult situation. The PMOS underlined, as the Prime Minister had done to the House, that this was not ‘the solution’ to the asylum problem, nor a substitute for the other measures we were taking.
Briefing took place at 15:45 | Search for related news
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