UK strikes immigration deal with Nigeria to speed up deportation of dangerous foreign criminals

UK strikes immigration deal with Nigeria to speed up deportation of dangerous foreign criminals
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Mark White

By Mark White

Published: 30/06/2022

- 15:13

Updated: 30/06/2022

- 16:17

The UK Government has struck a “major new immigration agreement” with Nigeria, to help speed up the removal of some of the thousands of dangerous foreign criminals released from British prisons, but still awaiting deportation

Earlier today, a flight to Nigeria and Ghana removed 11 Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) and 10 other Nigerian and Ghanaian nationals, with no right to be in the UK.

Official figures show an alarming drop in the number of foreign criminals being deported from the UK in recent years.

Immigration lawyers have been blamed for some of the decrease, after using European Human Rights laws to prevent many foreign offenders from being removed.

Just last month, a removal flight landed in Jamaica with just 7 of 112 foreign offenders originally scheduled to be deported to the island nation.

There are currently 9,815 foreign criminals in UK prisons.

EMBARGOED TO 0001 THURSDAY APRIL 28 File photo dated 23/09/2020 of HMP Barlinnie in Glasgow. Services and treatment of prisoners with mental health conditions must be urgently addressed, according to a report by an independent welfare body. The Mental Welfare Commission (MWC) visited Scotland's 15 prisons, ten years after making recommendations for changes to their mental health services in 2011. Issue date: Thursday April 28, 2022.
The deal is intended to help speed up the deportation of dangerous criminals
Danny Lawson

Of those who have been released from prison, 10,741 have been removed from the UK since January 2019.

But figures also show the number being deported has slowed significantly in recent years.

More than 11,300 foreign offenders are currently back in communities across the UK, awaiting deportation to their home countries.

That figure is nearly double what it was four years ago.

Alarmingly, Home Office figures also show that almost 3,500 of those awaiting deportation have been out of prison for more than 5 years.

At the same time, the number of “Highest Harm” offenders being removed has fallen by more than half over the past 8 years.

956 of those released after serving sentences for murder, rape and drug dealing were removed last year.

That compares to 2,200 “Highest Harm” criminals who were deported in 2013.

The deal with Nigeria is planned to help introduce a quicker removal process for Foreign National Offenders and those with no right to remain in the UK.

It is a different type of deal to the economic partnership with Rwanda, announced in April.

Home Secretary Priti Patel has praised the deal
Home Secretary Priti Patel has praised the deal
Danny Lawson

That agreement is designed to process asylum seekers, who arrive in the UK by “irregular routes”, in the central African nation instead.

Plans to send a flight of asylum seekers to the Rwandan capital earlier this month were blocked by the European Court of Human Rights, after a judge in Strasbourg ruled the flight should be halted.

Home Secretary Priti Patel praised the deal announced on Thursday with Nigeria.

She said: “It is an important development that the UK and Nigeria have signed an agreement to co-operate on migration issues, to tackle illegal migration and the significant threat it poses to both nations.

“The deal will mean that operational teams in both countries will share their expertise to take the fight to criminal people smugglers who are responsible for a wider range of criminality and put profit before people while undermining the security of our two countries.

“This landmark agreement will increase the deportation of dangerous foreign criminals to make our streets and country safer.”

The Foreign National Offenders deported to Nigeria and Ghana today had been sentenced to combined prison terms of more than 64 years.

A Home Office spokesperson told GB News: “We remain committed to removing foreign nationals with no right to be in the UK anddespite the challenges of the pandemic restricting our ability to deport as many as we would like, we have removed 10,742 foreign national offenders since 2019.

“The Nationality and Borders Act will overhaul the broken asylum system and speed up the removal of those with no right to be in the UK.”

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