Overseas Territories: Illegal Immigration - Question

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 11:27 am on 27 April 2023.

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Photo of Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office) 11:27, 27 April 2023

Different OTs have different challenges and problems. We began the conversation about TCI, where the migration problem is on a scale that is incomparable. If it was translated into UK conditions, it would be like 4 million or 5 million people crossing the channel every year, and clearly that is a major problem for a small island with a small population. What we are helping to do in TCI is helping the country return those refugees to Haiti where possible. Similarly, we have a problem in Cayman, where large numbers of people are fleeing from Cuba. The answer there is to return people wherever possible to Cuba. The only issue that seems to be of interest to Parliament at the moment relates to the British Indian Ocean Territory, where we have a particular problem with refugees, mostly from Sri Lanka, who are inhabiting an area that is effectively uninhabitable. There we have particular issues and it is in those circumstances where the Rwanda option may be the best one.