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Tuesday, August 06, 2013 - 05.45 GMT

UK encourages voluntary return of illegal migrants


The UK government has launched a pilot scheme in London to encourage illegal migrants to leave the UK voluntarily, the British High Commission in Colombo said.

Vans displaying large ads, as well as leaflets, posters and messages in local newspapers will be used to highlight the advantages of returning home voluntarily, while making clear that enforcement action will be taken if they do not.

According to the High Commission, the two vans are driving around different parts of London this week, showing residents how many illegal migrants have recently been arrested in their area.

The areas of Hounslow, Barking and Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge have been chosen because they have either significantly higher or below average numbers of voluntary returns.

They also publicize a hotline number that the migrants can call to arrange their return.

"We are making it more difficult for people to live and work in the UK illegally. Every single day our enforcement officers are arresting, detaining and removing people with no right to be in the UK. But there is an alternative to being led away in handcuffs. Help and advice can be provided to those who co-operate and return to their homes voluntarily," the Immigration Minister Mark Harper said.

The pilot program builds on the government's current work on voluntary returns, which saw 3,699 voluntary departures last year.






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Last modified: August 06, 2013.

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