UK Border Agency

Home Department written question – answered on 7th February 2012.

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Photo of Chris Bryant Chris Bryant Shadow Minister (Home Affairs)

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the capacity of UK Border Agency staff to improve their performance in respect of enforced removals.

Photo of Damian Green Damian Green The Minister for Immigration

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) maintains a strong focus on removing those with no right to remain in the UK and enforcing the removal of those who fail to leave voluntarily forms a key component of our enforcement strategy. Between 1 January and 30 September 2011, 26,962 illegal migrants in the UK were removed or voluntarily departed.

We have identified a range of actions to drive improvements and are undergoing a change programme focused on the creation of a new removals directorate and process improvements in the management of removals across the country. Linked to this, we have a programme to improve our country planning process and charter programme. The UK Border Agency undertakes approximately 60 charter flights per year and last year we removed over 2,000 individuals on charter flights. We continue to exploit opportunities to increase returns. This includes opening and consolidating new charter routes to Ghana, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

A major element of our programme to achieve a step change in overall removals is through expanding significantly the resource directed to encouraging those still in the country without legitimate leave to exit the country voluntarily, and then removing those who refuse to return home. Steps are being taken to enhance absconder tracing and streamline processes to improve the success rate of enforcement operations. The agency will continue to focus on maximising productivity from all its enforcement assets including reporting centres, arrest teams, immigration removal centres and charter flights.

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