UK-Ireland borders deal to target illegal immigrants

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The UK and Ireland hope a new cooperation deal will help crack down on illegal immigration.

The two countries will share information on visa applications, including fingerprint biometrics.

The UK Borders Agency says the deal could create “considerable savings” on removing foreign nationals with no right to stay.

Ultimately there could be joint entry standards and “enhanced electronic border systems”.

The new system will help identify those with no right to enter the so-called common travel area – comprising the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man – before they arrive at the border.

Information on applicants, particularly those from high-risk countries, will also be shared as part of efforts to crack down on illegal immigration and spurious asylum claims.

Some 500 of the 1,516 failed asylum claims made so far this year in Ireland have been identified as being known to the UKBA, either as so-called “asylum shoppers” with previous asylum applications to the UK, or as visa applicants.

A pilot scheme to check 1,700 Irish visa applications lodged in Nigeria against UK records also found more than 200 of these had either been deported from, or refused entry to, the UK, the UKBA said.

Examples include one immigration fraudster caught with a number of fake identities after his zig-zag route across four countries was noticed by UKBA officers in Belfast.

A Nigerian applicant was refused entry into Ireland after checks showed he had previously been removed from the UK in 2008 and the passport had been tampered with.

The UK Immigration Minister Damian Green will meet his Irish counterpart Alan Shatter in Dublin on Tuesday to agree the closer cooperation deal.

“This agreement will help us quickly refuse those with poor immigration records, identify asylum shoppers and speed up the removal process in those cases where people have entered the common travel area,” said Mr Green.

“The benefits the CTA (common travel area) brings to travellers and the economies of our countries are well-established but it should not be exploited by those with no right to be here.”

source: BBC © 2011

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