India-U.K. to ink MoU on illegal migrants
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India will sign a pact with the United Kingdom for a return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of their being detected by authorities.
The U.K. has consistently raised the issue of return of illegal migrants — said to number in thousands — with India. The memorandum of understanding comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit in March.
During her visit to India in 2016, British Prime Minister Theresa May said the U.K. would consider an improved visa deal, “if, at the same time, we can step up the speed and volume of returns of Indians with no right to remain in the U.K.”
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju will lead a delegation to the U.K. this week. The team is expected to ask Westminster to “spell out” its position in court on businessman Vijay Mallya’s extradition. Mr. Modi’s visit to the U.K. coincides with the hearing in Mr. Mallya’s case when the court takes up the “admissibility of evidence.”
A senior Home Ministry official said, “Till now U.K has assured us of all possible help in the extradition requests placed by India, but we would like to know the stand they are going to take in court in Mallya’s case.”
A senior official said the MoU will streamline the return of illegal migrants to India. “The process was not streamlined yet. The British authorities will first identify the illegal migrant, the Indian authorities will be informed and then the verification will be done by police agencies back home. If the claims of the British authorities are found to be correct, then travel documents will be readied and the person deported by the U.K. authorities. This process will have a timeline of one month,” said the official.
While U.K. claims that number of illegal migrants was in thousands, Indian agencies found only 2,000 Indians overstaying.
The MoU on sharing of criminal records is in line with a similar agreement signed with the U.S., an official said.
Mr. Rijiju is also expected to convey New Delhi’s concerns on the continuing anti-India propaganda carried out by Sikh and Kashmiri extremist groups based in the U.K.that bear “serious repercussions on India’s sovereignty.”
An official said British authorities have assured India that despite the Cabinet reshuffle in London, the two MoUs would be signed as scheduled. Minister of State for Immigration Brandon Lewis who was to sign the MoUs has been appointed as chairman of the ruling Conservative Party.