The UK and India signed a non-binding agreement on migration this week. The basic ingredients are to beef up cooperation on removing unauthorised migrants in exchange for a minor liberalisation on youth mobility-type visas and some warm words on encouraging temporary migration more generally. Such a deal has been on the cards for years and a text was reportedly ready for signature in 2018, but was dropped in light of the Windrush scandal which made removals politically unappealing for a time.
Removing unauthorised migrants: “Cooperation relating to the prevention and combatting of illegal migration” (Chapter 4 and Annex 2). This includes procedures for verifying the identity of someone being sent back, types of documents that will be accepted for that purpose, and timelines for acknowledging responsibility for the person being removed. If they have a passport, the authorities in the country of return are supposed to respond within 20 days (or failing that, 30 days). If not, the timeline is 60/90 days. Emergency Travel Documents should be issued within five working days.
Also in Chapter 4 is a provision targeting Indian nationals said to be deliberately making their UK-born children stateless in order to secure them permission to remain. This echoes a clampdown on perceived abuse of the statelessness rules in the New Plan for Immigration.
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