India has signed an MoU with the United Kingdom to enable the return of illegal Indian migrants within a month of their detection by authorities abroad.
Minister of State for Home Kiren Rijiju on Friday confirmed that the pact was signed by him and UK Minister of State for Immigration Caroline Nokes in Britain on Wednesday during his visit along with an Indian delegation for a week.
“We finalised long-pending India-UK MoU on the returns of illegal migrants and sharing of criminal records,” Rijiju tweeted.
The Memorandum of Understanding, which would affect hundreds of Indians, comes ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s proposed visit to the UK in March. The UK has consistently raised the issue of return of illegal migrants with India.
Rijiju said he also discussed “issues of visas for dependents and students, social security, distressed Indian women and extradition”.
A Home Ministry official said: “The process was not streamlined yet. The British authorities will first identify the illegal migrants, inform the Indian authorities, followed by police verification back home.
“If the claims of the British authorities are found to be correct, then the travel documents of the person concerned will be readied and he/she deported by the UK authorities. This process will have a timeline of one month,” said the official.
While the UK claims that the number of illegal migrants is in thousands, Indian agencies have found only 2,000 Indians are overstaying.
The Minister on Thursday also thanked the UK government for its cooperation in the ongoing extradition case of liquor tycoon Vijay Mallya.
He had also held talks with the Britain’s Minister of State for Security at the UK Home Office, Ben Wallace, on broad security issues.
“As part of the discussions, the Minister thanked the UK government for cooperation in the Mallya extradition case,” a senior official present at the meeting said.
Mallya, 62, is wanted in India to stand trial on charges of not repaying loans of around Rs 9,000 crore to various banks.
Besides the extradition case, issues such as the rise of fundamentalism and Sikh extremism were discussed during Rijiju’s meeting with the UK Minister.