A pilot scheme that
aims to encourage illegal migrants to leave the UK
voluntarily has been launched in London. Vans
displaying large adverts, as well as leaflets,
posters and messages in local newspapers will be
used to highlight the advantages of returning home
voluntarily - while making clear enforcement action
will be taken if they do not.
For this week, the two
vans are driving around Hounslow, Barking &
Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge and
will show residents how many illegal migrants have
recently been arrested in their area. They also
publicise a hotline number that these migrants can
call to arrange their return.
Minister Mark Harper said:
'We are making it more difficult for people to live
and work in the UK illegally. Every single day our
enforcement officers are arresting, detaining and
removing people with no right to be in the UK.
But there is an
alternative to being led away in handcuffs. Help and
advice can be provided to those who cooperate and
return home voluntarily.
'This pilot is just
another part of reforms of the immigration system
that have cut out abuse and seen net migration drop
to its lowest levels in nearly a decade.
The Immigration Bill
being introduced later this year will build on this
work by restricting illegal migrants' access to
benefits and services.'
Voluntary returns are
the most cost-effective way of removing illegal
immigrants and save the taxpayer money. This pilot
builds on the government's current work on voluntary
returns, which saw 3,699 voluntary departures last
The areas were chosen
because they have either significantly higher or
below average numbers of voluntary returns, meaning
that the success of the pilot can be assessed.
Community and faith leaders across the six boroughs
have been involved in creating the messaging and
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