A deal between India and Britain that would streamline the process for sending illegal immigrants home from the UK has been put on ice.
According to a report by The Telegraph, Indian officials said the issue “remains under discussion” following prime minister Narendra Modi’s trip to the UK last month as part of the 25th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
Sources say Modi’s government is worried the agreement to speed up the removal of Indian nationals found in the UK illegally may result in mass deportations.
It’s believed as many as 100,000 people of Indian origin could be living in Britain without permission – more than any other nationality.
Data compiled by the Home Office shows some 5,000 Indians found to be in the UK illegally returned home last year – around 10 per cent of those were deported.
Memorandum of understanding
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) designed streamline the removal process was signed in January by British Minister of Immigration Caroline Nokes and Indian Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju.
The Home Office said at the time: “The agreement on returns paves the way for a quicker and more efficient process for documenting and returning Indian nationals who have no right to be in the UK to India.”
Both security and humanitarian issues are said to have caused to the bilateral agreement to stall. It has also been suggested that prime minister Modi is keen to secure promises on future legal immigration numbers as part of the deal.
A Home Office spokesman told The Times newspaper that the British government is looking forward to further discussing the MoU in the hope it will be ratified and implemented soon.
Main image: Prime ministers Modi and May outside 10 Downing Street. ©Press Information Bureau, Government of India.