Immigration: Deportation

House of Lords written question – answered on 24th March 2014.

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Photo of Lord Hylton Lord Hylton Crossbench

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when deportation will follow the end of a prison sentence served by a foreign national; whether they always arrange the necessary documents as soon as the release date is known; and to what extent problems arise from statelessness or the failure of other states to cooperate.

Photo of Lord Taylor of Holbeach Lord Taylor of Holbeach The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Home Office considers for deportation or other immigration enforcement action all foreign national offenders (FN0s) who are sentenced a period of imprisonment following a criminal conviction. Deportation is considered in the following circumstances:

For Non European Economic Area (EEA) Nationals

There is a duty on the Secretary of State to deport a non-EEA foreign national who is sentenced to a period of imprisonment of 12 months or more. In addition, the Home Office considers deportation action in cases where a non-EEA national is sentenced to 12 months or more as an aggregate of two or three sentences over a period of five years, or where there is a custodial sentence of any length for a drug offence (other than possession), or where a Court has recommended deportation.

For EEA nationals

The deportation consideration process in the cases of EEA nationals takes account of the Immigration (EEA) Regulations 2006 and any human rights considerations on a case-by-case basis.

Deportation will normally be pursued where the person is sentenced to two years' imprisonment or more, or 12 months' imprisonment for a sexual, drug or violent offence. Where an EEA offender receives a shorter sentence, deportation will be pursued where it can be justified in accordance with the Immigration (EEA) Regulations, taking into account the particular circumstances of the case. These regulations state that deportation action must be proportionate and that an individual must represent a “genuine, present and sufficiently serious threat affecting one of the fundamental interests of society”.

Documentation and removal

We make every effort to ensure that a person's removal or deportation coincides, as far as possible, with completion of sentence, including arranging travel documentation to facilitate this. This process can sometimes be delayed as a result of non-compliance by an FNO, such as the adoption of false identities, nationality swapping, refusing to engage with the Home Office, or refusing to engage with foreign embassies.

The UK has now established safe routes and re-documentation arrangements with a significant number of countries which is aiding our ability to return foreign nationals.

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