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Illegal Immigrants: Deportation

Volume 496: debated on Wednesday 15 July 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what arrangements his Department has made with the French Government to fly back to their country of origin potential illegal entrants into the United Kingdom from France; when he expects the first such flights to happen; how costs will be split between the Government and the French Government; and what payments in cash or benefits in kind will be made to those placed on such flights. (243113)

The United Kingdom (UK) continues to work with France—one of our closest European partners—in fighting illegal migration. Our shared determination has already created one of the toughest border crossings in the world at Calais. As part of this co-operation, the UK and France are assessing the feasibility of joint return flights to fly back to their country of origin potential illegal entrants who have no lawful basis with which to be in either country.

The UK Border Agency does not disclose information in advance about the dates or destinations of charter flights in order to ensure the safety and security of our own staff, our contractors, and those we are seeking to return. Additionally, the Government of the country of origin may request that we do not publicise our operation as a condition of granting clearance for the flight. As there are currently no firm arrangements in place for the UK and France to operate a joint flight, there has been no agreement about cost allocation or whether any payment to returnees is appropriate. Any details about costs or breakdown of costs to an airline contracted for the purpose of a joint flight would be regarded as commercially confidential.