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‘Managing Global Migration’ Strategy

Volume 461: debated on Monday 18 June 2007

I am today publishing a new strategy entitled “Managing Global Migration: A Strategy to Build Stronger International Alliances to Manage Migration”. This strategy has been drawn up jointly between the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Copies of this document have been placed in the Libraries of both Houses.

Around the world Britain is laying the foundation of our offshore border controls. Our visa waiver test for all non-EEA countries is underway. Biometric visas are now issued in 75 countries. Over 20 million passenger movements have been screened before arrival in the UK.

But the impacts of migration are not issues Britain faces alone. This strategy seeks to outline how we will work with European and international partners to better manage global migration. We will now make migration a key part of the UK’s relations with other countries. Other priority actions are to enhance the sharing of data and expertise with other countries to make it easier for people to visit the UK for legitimate reasons and more difficult for those who seek to enter illegally or do us harm.

By working with EU partners we aim to further reduce ‘asylum shopping’. We will also make clear to illegal migrants’ countries of origin the benefits of co-operating and the disadvantages of not doing so. By building bridges with priority countries we will bring needed skills to the UK to boost our economy.

The main proposals include:

developing arrangements with other countries to share immigration data and to jointly collect biometric data;

exploring whether an international data exchange agreement would help us achieve our aim of sharing appropriate immigration data easily and securely between all EEA countries and those with a visa waiver;

setting up a team of immigration specialists that can be deployed abroad on a routine or emergency basis to offer advice, support and training where needed to help tackle illegal migration to the UK;

reviewing our networks of overseas airline liaison officers and returns liaison officers, using law enforcement liaison officers along key illegal migration routes to the UK and considering the establishment of sea carrier liaison officers at sea ports;

considering whether a new international organisation is needed to promote common international standards and technology in border control;

making readmission of countries’ own nationals an integral part of international relationships;

further work with EU to reduce asylum shopping, particularly through practical co-operation;

building bridges with priority countries to bring needed skills to the UK; increasing the number and availability of visa application services to make it easier for legitimate travellers to come to the UK;

exploring the potential for further links between diaspora communities in the UK and their home countries for the benefit of the UK economy;

working with EU member states and the European Commission to co-ordinate and unlock international efforts to better manage migration with third countries.

I commend the strategy to the House.