Letter from Lord Filkin, Parliamentary
Under-Secretary of State, to the Chairman
Proposal for a Council Directive laying
down minimum standards on the reception of applicants for asylum
in Member States (Council Document 8351/02)
Thank you for your letter of 13 June in response
to my letter of 7 June which was considered by the Sub-Committee
E (Law and Institutions). I am pleased the Committee has decided
to clear the above document from scrutiny and have noted the contents
of your letter.
On vocational training, it may help further
to explain that some Member States offer training to asylum seekers
only once they have been granted access to the labour market.
Member States should be encouraged to provide vocational training
before access is granted as the training could provide applicants
with important new skills that will help them to find employment
once they have been granted access to the labour market. The first
paragraph of Article 12 merely attempts to give some clarification
that vocational training not be interpreted as the provision of
training from employers or organisations to help people improve
themselves whilst they are in employment.
I continue to disagree with the Committee's
view that the directive may lead to a lowering of standards or
to minimum standards being set at the level of the lowest common
denominator. I have not seen any evidence of other Member States
intending to lower the standards of their reception conditions
following implementation of this directive. The minimum standards
outlined in the Reception Directive have not been "set at
the level of the lowest common denominator".
I have already explained to the Committee that
some Member States will be obliged to make changes to the reception
conditions they provide in order to meet the minimum standards
of the directive.
I hope you have found this information useful.
8 July 2002