Asylum and Immigration

Home Department written question – answered on 5th January 2004.

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Photo of Julian Brazier Julian Brazier Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with which countries the (a) UK and (b) EU has agreements concerning the re-documentation of illegal immigrants found in the UK.

Photo of Beverley Hughes Beverley Hughes Minister of State (Citizenship and Immigration), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism)

holding answer 4 December 2003

Re-documentation agreements are not necessary to enable us to return to most countries. Wherever possible (and this is the case with more than 160 countries), we return using the EU laissez passer, because this is the simplest and quickest approach. But where third countries do not accept the EU letter, we have sought to conclude a range of informal or formal agreements.

The UK signed its first three bilateral readmission agreements with Romania and Bulgaria in February 2003 and Albania in October 2003. These agreements are due to enter into force in 2004. We will continue to negotiate bilateral readmission agreements and less formal re-documentation arrangements in order to facilitate removals operations.

In addition, at EU level, the Commission has been authorised by the Council to negotiate Community readmission agreements with 11 third countries: Morocco, Sri Lanka, Russia, Pakistan, Hong Kong, Macao, Ukraine, Albania, Algeria, China and Turkey. The first of these is due to enter force in 2004.

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