India, UK to Sign Agreement on Return of Illegal Migrants

The Memorandum of Understanding aims to streamline the process of return of illegal migrants to India.


India and United Kingdom is set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding for the return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of the identification of their residence status by authorities.

The MoU has been timed ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the United Kingdom in March. It aims to streamline the process of the return of illegal migrants to India. “The process was not streamlined yet. The British authorities will first identify the illegal migrant, the Indian authorities will be informed and then the verification will be done by police agencies back home,” said a senior official, the Hindu reported.

If the British authorities’ claim is found valid, travel documents will then be prepared and the person will be deported back to India, the report added. The time frame set for this process is one month.

The United Kingdom has raised the issue of the return of illegal migrants many times with India.

In 2016, as many as 2,782 Indians were estimated to be working illegally in different fields in Britain, while the corresponding figures for people from Bangladesh and Pakistan was 3,574 and 3,568, respectively. Indians were thus the third-largest group of illegal immigrants in the country that year, according to estimates based on data from the UK Home Office. The country claims that the figures have increased now. However, Indian agencies have only been able to find 2,000 Indians who are overstaying in the United Kingdom, the report added.

The UK migration watch said in December 2017 that the country does not have an agreement with Brazil and India, “both of which are thought to be significant sources of illegal migration to the United Kingdom.”

About 200 Indians were arrested between January and June 2017 in the United Kingdom. Operation Magnify involved raids at 253 properties in Leicester and London. These properties were housing individuals who were either overstaying their visa or had entered the country illegally.

The Indian government is also seeking to know the United Kingdom’s position in court on extradition of liquor baron Vijay Mallya. Kiren Rijiju, the Indian Minister of State for Home, will lead a delegation to the United Kingdom soon. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit will overlap with the court hearing of Mallya’s case.

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