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Illegal Immigrants

Home Department written question – answered on 29th April 2004.

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Photo of Gordon Prentice Gordon Prentice Labour, Pendle

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many illegal immigrants from China could not be deported in each year since 1997 because the Chinese authorities refused to take them; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Des Browne Des Browne Minister of State (Citizenship, Immigration and Counter-Terrorism), Home Office, Minister of State (Home Office) (Citizenship, Immigration and Nationality)

Information on the number of Chinese nationals who could not be returned to China due to the Chinese authorities refusing to accept them is not available.

Deportations are a specific subset of removals alongside persons subject to administrative removal, removal due to illegal entry action or those refused entry at port and subsequently removed. Information on the nationality of those people removed as a result of deportation action is not available.

Our ability to effect removals to the country of origin is crucial in tackling illegal immigration, and we expect the co-operation of source countries in this regard. The Chinese Government have very strict conditions for re-documenting their citizens and will only accept their return once they have verified their exact identity. This causes problems for many countries that wish to repatriate Chinese illegal immigrants and failed asylum seekers, as those who do not wish to return are careful to conceal their true identity. Chinese officials seconded to the Immigration Service have recently provided assistance in identifying Chinese nationals to enable their return. We are now working on an arrangement to make this assistance permanent.

We have made it clear to the Chinese Government that we urgently need to find a solution to the problem of re-documenting those who continue to conceal their identity in order to frustrate return, and are working together to find a way forward to enable us to significantly increase returns to China.

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