A pilot scheme meant to encourage irregular migrants to leave the UK voluntarily has been launched in London.
Vans displaying large adverts encouraging irregular migrants to return home voluntarily will be driving around London in a one week pilot.
From 22nd July 2013, 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.
Over the next week, two vans will be driven around Hounslow, Barking & Dagenham, Ealing, Barnet, Brent and Redbridge and will show residents how many irregular migrants have recently been arrested in their area. They will also show a text number that migrants can message to arrange their return.
“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,” Immigration Minister Mark Harper said. “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.”
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.
Material has also been distributed in areas where irregular migrants are known to frequent, including newsagents, money transfer shops and internet cafes.