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Volume 502: debated on Tuesday 8 December 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what factors his Department took into account in determining (a) the repatriation to Malaysia of Agnes Wong and (b) the sum which she was awarded under the Facilitated Returns Scheme; and if he will make a statement; (303322)

(2) what the maximum sum in assistance is that a foreign national can claim under (a) the Facilitated Returns Scheme, (b) reintegration assistance and (c) each other form of assistance provided by his Department.

In accordance with the provisions of the Data Protection Act, since the hon. Member is not acting on behalf of this individual I am unable to disclose details of her case, the UK Border Agency can not disclose an individual's data to third parties without the consent of the said individual.

The Facilitated Returns Scheme accounted for around a third of the 5,395 foreign national offenders removed in 2008.

The Facilitated Return Scheme offers non European economic area foreign national detainees the opportunity to volunteer to return to their home country rather than await removal by the UK Border Agency. This option saves the United Kingdom taxpayer the considerable costs of detaining foreign nationals and the costly process of pursuing deportation through the courts.

Eligible detainees are those who can be released because they have completed their sentence and are being detained solely under immigration powers (time served); those eligible for the Early Removal Scheme; or non European economic area nationals from countries with which the United Kingdom has a prisoner transfer agreement.

Foreign national offenders removed under this scheme will now receive the equivalent of a discharge grant payable to British prisoners on their release, which is £46. This is paid on departure from the United Kingdom. In addition to this, a further sum of £454 on a pre-paid card will be given on departure which is for use on arrival in the home country.

Those who volunteer to go home at the end of their sentence could receive a grant up to £3,000 when their sentence is finished. A large part of this is in kind.