India to Confirm Identity of Suspected Illegal Immigrants to UK Within 70 Days

India will have 70 days to check identity of people who are suspected to be staying illegally in the United Kingdom.


India will agree to examine and confirm the identity of people who are suspected to be illegal migrants by the United Kingdom within a 70-day deadline, according to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) that will be signed by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits Britain in April. The details of the MoU were finalized by Kiren Rijiju, the Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs, and Caroline Nokes, the UK Minister of Immigration, in London last week, the Hindustan Times reported.

“Where a person declines to cooperate with the nationality verification process by refusing to provide a signature and where the requesting party confirms the person’s non-compliance and provides additional information to enable the requested party to verify nationality, the requested party shall on a case to case basis take steps to verify the person’s nationality,” the MoU details, reported HT.

Indian citizens staying in the United Kingdom illegally have been divided into two groups in the MoU: people whose passports and other details can be obtained from their applications for British visas, and those who acknowledge being Indians, but do not have documents to prove it.

For the confirmation of the identity of the second group, 70 days will be taken. While for the first group, the verification process, after UK submits documents to India, will be done within a 15-day period, the report added.

Rijiju and Nokes on Jan.11 signed two MoUs to tackle international criminality as well as illegal migrants, the UK government said in a statement.

“The agreement on returns paves the way for a quicker and more efficient process for documenting and returning Indian nationals who have no right to be in the UK to India. This has proven difficult in the past due to some Indians not having the required paperwork or travel documentation for them to be accepted back in their home country,” the statement said.

It added that the agreement commits both countries to taking a more flexible approach to verifying the identity and nationality of individuals, which will help speed up the returns process.

The latest move by the two countries follows reports that India and United Kingdom are set to sign MoU for return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of the identification of their residence status by authorities, although the process had not been streamlined then.

In August 2017, several Indian citizens were arrested in an anti-immigration drive called Operation Magnify from January to June in the United Kingdom. A total of 200 people had been arrested, including officials from various agencies. Operation Magnify involved raids at 253 properties in Leicester and London, all housing individuals who were either overstaying their visa or had entered the country illegally.

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