deport migrants and failed asylum seekers

The Guardian: Home Office making secret payments to obtain travel documents from embassies

22 May 2014

The Guardian reported yesterday that the Home Office is making “secret” payments to embassies to obtain travel documents in order to deport migrants and failed asylum seekers.

According to the Guardian, diplomatic sources from embassies in Asia, Africa and the Middle East said the Home Office offered money in return for providing travel documents as quickly as possible.

The payments do not appear in the Home Office’s annual report.

One African diplomatic source told the Guardian: “I know that some embassies do accept payments from the Home Office for providing travel documents, but we do not because we consider it to be improper to take money for this. Sometimes it takes us a long time to check out whether someone the Home Office wants to remove is actually from my country.”

A Home Office spokesman told the Guardian: “We work closely with embassies from a wide range of countries to obtain travel documents to assist removal.”

According to the Guardian, the Home Office said it would not make more than a three-figure payment for travel documents, though some diplomats said they had been offered substantially more.

The Guardian says that it made a Freedom of Information (FoI) request about payments made to the Nigerian embassy, but officials rejected the request to reveal it.

Labour MP Jeremy Corbyn is seeking more information about the payments. He told the Guardian: “It sounds odd on two grounds. Firstly why the secrecy and secondly what effect does this have on the potential deportee in that their details would have been flagged up in advance to the authorities in the country concerned?”