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Bilaterally Negotiated Arrangements for Asylum and Immigration

Volume 457: debated on Wednesday 7 March 2007

We put migration at the heart of our bilateral relations. We have good long-standing migration relationships with many countries. We have signed Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) that include arrangements for the return of failed asylum seekers and illegal migrants. We have these arrangements with Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria, Pakistan, Somaliland, United Arab Emirates (Dubai) and Vietnam. We have not been able to implement our MoU with Iran as the arrangements originally negotiated are no longer appropriate or practical. In addition to the European Community Readmission Agreements to which the UK is party, we have bilateral readmission agreements with Albania, Bulgaria, Romania and Switzerland. We have concluded negotiations with Serbia and Montenegro, but texts have not yet been signed with those countries. An agreement has been signed with Algeria and is currently in the process of ratification. The content of MoU negotiations is confidential for operational reasons; however the text of a bilateral readmission agreement becomes publicly available once it has been signed and laid before Parliament. Broadly, MoUs cover the mechanics of arranging returns of immigration offenders between the UK and the relevant country.