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Immigration: Northern Ireland

Volume 698: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

asked Her Majesty's Government:

What action they are taking to stop illegal immigrants entering the United Kingdom through its land borders. [HL1624]

The Border and Immigration Agency has responsibility for immigration control matters throughout the UK, including Northern Ireland, and has a team of enforcement officers based in the Province who work closely with the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).

The agency, the PSNI and the Garda National Immigration Bureau work collaboratively and run regular intelligence-led operations to counter risks to the common travel area borders. These operations have successfully prevented foreign nationals attempting to enter Northern Ireland and the Republic illegally in both directions.

Operation Gull is a periodic enforcement operation undertaken at ports to detect and remove failed asylum seekers and illegal workers. It has had a number of successes.

We also work with the Garda National Immigration Bureau in Dublin to deal with migrants who cross the land border into NI. The agency operates immigration controls at the international ports in Northern Ireland, refusing entry where appropriate, thereby preventing illegal migrants from entering by those routes.

In addition, the agency works closely with the police service in Scotland in dealing with those who are in the UK illegally and who are identified when seeking to move between the Province and Great Britain.