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Malta: Illegal Immigrants

Volume 458: debated on Monday 12 March 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assistance the Government are providing to Malta to help tackle illegal immigration from Africa to the island. (126983)

The Government are working closely with the Maltese authorities to help tackle illegal immigration. We are doing so both bilaterally and through the EU. Last year we sent a Home Office expert on interviewing and nationality identification to Malta for one month, to form part of the EU Border Management Agency FRONTEX-led mission. We also deployed an expert official on returns from the Special Operations Unit within the Home Office, to look at ways of improving Malta’s returns programme.

At present, we have two joint proposals for funding being considered by the European Commission. The first focuses on a joint charter flight to send failed asylum seekers from the UK and Malta back to their country of origin. The second, a proposal to establish a joint unit of migration intelligence analysts on Lampedusa and Malta, is part of our wider work to disrupt irregular migration flows from East Africa to the EU under the East African Migration Routes Initiative.