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UKBA’s campaign to tackle visa abuse result in 2000 overstayers sent home

Date: (23 August 2012)    |    

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Operation Mayapple which was launched to crack down on illegal staying students and other migrants in the UK beyond their permitted period has seen more than 2,000 overstayers living in London return to their native homes.
In May the operation was launched by the UK Border Agency as a campaign to tackle visa abuse.
Estimated two thirds were persuaded to leave voluntarily, with one third having had to be removed by force. Different tactics were used to send the overstayers home.
The e-Borders system which has data on all immigrants coming into the UK means that UKBA can now check which people have left the country and this information, along with other intelligence, is then used to contact those who breach the terms of their visas.
More than 400 London 'overstayers' were persuaded to leave the country after being contacted to inform them that they have no right to remain and must make arrangements to leave.
A further 800 left of their own accord and 58 overstayers left the capital under the Assisted Voluntary Return scheme, which is being operated by Refugee Action.
More than 700 overstayers had to be forcibly removed following raids on businesses and residential premises in London; they were refusing to leave voluntarily.
Immigration Minister Damian Green met with the local immigration team for Bexley, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark ahead of a series of raids on Walworth Road and Atlantic Road in South London, during which three immigration offenders were detained.
He said the border agency was working to ensure that it identified anybody who was overstaying their visa and tried to coax them to leave the country voluntarily. Those tempted to overstay were warned that they should be aware of the serious consequences. If they chose not to go they would be arrested, detained and removed.
He also added that anyone failing to leave before expiry of their visas would faces a ban on re-entry to the UK.
Of the 2,000 London cases, roughly a third were from India. Significant numbers of illegal migrants from Pakistan, Nigeria, China, Bangladesh and Brazil have also returned home as a result of the campaign.
National statistics for removals is to be published as part of Home Office Quarterly Immigration Statistics on 30 August.