India-UK MoU National

Govt. to confirm nationality of illegal Indian immigrants in U.K.

External Affairs Minister S. Jaisankar with U.K. Secretary of State Priti Patel after the signing of the MoU.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Children born to Indians staying illegally in the United Kingdom will be granted emergency travel documents to return along with parents based on birth certificates issued by the British authorities, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries on May 4.

British citizenship is not acquired by birth alone, there are a combination of factors, including the year of birth and parents’ circumstances.

Before illegal immigrants identified by the U.K. authorities are allowed to return, government officials here will conduct a probe to establish if the person is indeed an Indian citizen or not. The State police will be roped in once a request is received by the Centre.

“The U.K. will share its expertise to train specialists in the fight against document fraud and to provide its expertise in the field of detection equipment,” the MoU on migration and mobility partnership between India and the U.K. said.

Revised pact

The MoU, which has been in the works for the past three years, has been revised after India declined a proposal by the U.K. to use DNA sampling to establish the nationality of document-less illegal immigrants who the U.K. suspects to be Indians.

According to a earlier estimate by the U.K. government, there are around 1,00,000 Indians who entered illegally or are overstaying their visa in the U.K. India has contested the numbers saying the figure is not more than 2,000.

As per the fresh MoU, the time frame to verify the nationality of a person who holds an Indian passport and who has overstayed the visa will be not later than 30 days on the receipt of request from the U.K. authorities.

Instances where a person has acknowledged that he is an Indian but does not have a passport or a ‘Visa Overstayer’ document, the time limit to establish the nationality will be 90 days. But here, the U.K. authorities will have to provide either a national identity card, a driving licence or a birth certificate among others to the Indian authorities to authenticate her/his Indian nationality.

“Where a person declines to cooperate with the nationality verification process by either refusing to give a signature or by providing the requisite details for the Emergency Travel Document Application Form” and does not cooperate or provides additional information to enable nationality verification, the antecedent check will be done “case to case” basis within a reasonable time frame.

The U.K. will also have to follow the same procedures if a British national is found staying illegally in India.

The MoU, which came into effect after it was signed by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and U.K. Secretary of State Priti Patel on May 4 in London, will continue for seven years until terminated by either participant giving three months’ prior written notice. It will be revived automatically after seven years.

India and the U.K. will create a Joint Working Group that will meet at least once a year, or as necessary at the request of either participant, alternately in each of the participants’ countries or virtually with mutual consent.

“The fight against organised illegal migration is based on the acquisition, centralisation and analysis of intelligence in order to identify criminal organisations, on the physical and technical surveillance of networks and on the gathering of evidence. Increased engagement and information sharing between operational partners, including exchange of police officers and attachment courses in specialist units will be planned, to enable the exchange of experience and expertise in the areas of border security and illegal migration,” it said.

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Printable version | Jun 22, 2021 8:15:33 AM |

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