• Thursday, June 20, 2024

HEADLINE STORY

Fast-track deportation deal for failed Bangladeshi asylum seekers

Last year, nearly 11,000 people from Bangladesh entered the UK on various visas, only to file asylum claims within a year

Michael Tomlinson. (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

The UK has signed a fast-track returns deal with Bangladesh to streamline the deportation of failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders, and visa overstayers, The Telegraph reported.

The agreement signed by illegal migration minister, Michael Tomlinson, will streamline the returns process by removing a mandatory interview for cases where there is good supporting evidence for removal.

According to the report, the deal became necessary as Bangladeshis were one of the largest groups exploiting the visa system. Last year, nearly 11,000 people from the country entered the UK on various visas, only to file asylum claims within a year in an attempt to secure permanent residency.

In the period up to March last year, migrants arrived in Britain on international student, worker, or visitor visas, aiming to misuse a loophole to gain asylum. However, only five per cent of initial asylum claims made by Bangladeshis were approved.

The agreement was reached during the inaugural UK-Bangladesh joint working group on home affairs in London. Both nations pledged to enhance their partnership and intensify collaboration on economic, cultural, and social matters.

The joint working group is also committed to continuing efforts to facilitate legal migration through existing visa pathways, addressing illegal migration by enhancing cooperation to prevent visa abuse, and improving data sharing, the report added.

Tomlinson stressed the importance of accelerating deportations to deter illegal migration, highlighting the significant impact such agreements have shown in curbing unlawful migration.

“Speeding up removals is a vital part of our plan to stop people coming or staying here illegally. Bangladesh is a valued partner and it is fantastic that we are bolstering our ties with them on this and a range of other issues,” he was quoted as saying.

“We have already seen clear evidence that these agreements have a significant impact on illegal migration. Global issues require global solutions and I look forward to working with Bangladesh and other partners to create a fairer system for all.”

Last month, leaked official documents covering the period up to March 2023 revealed a significant increase in asylum claims by visa holders, reaching a record high of 21,525, a 154 per cent annual rise.

This surge means that approximately one out of every 140 people who entered the country on a visa ended up seeking asylum. Over the past ten years, more than 102,000 individuals have applied to stay permanently after initially being granted temporary entry.

Among the nationalities filing the most asylum claims were Pakistan with nearly 17,400 cases, followed by Bangladesh (11,000), India (7,400), Nigeria (6,600), and Afghanistan (6,000).

These high numbers of asylum claims by visa holders are documented in a Home Office database known as Vast (Visa-Asylum Switching Tables).

Last year, 26,000 individuals who lacked the right to remain in the UK were repatriated to their home countries, marking a 74 per cent increase from 2022.

Furthermore, a fast-track returns agreement signed with Albania significantly reduced the number of small boat arrivals from that country by over 90 per cent.

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