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UK And Ireland To Co-Operate Further To Curb Illegal Immigrants

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Ireland Has Similar Concerns On Immigration To Britain
Ireland Has Similar Concerns On Immigration To Britain

Closer co-operation between the UK and Ireland will help crack down on illegal immigration, ministers have said.

The two countries will agree to share information on visa applications, including fingerprint biometrics and biographical details, as part of moves designed to improve the visa-issuing process.

The deal could create "considerable savings" for both countries on removing foreign nationals with no right to stay, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said.

UK immigration minister Damian Green will meet his Irish counterpart Alan Shatter in Dublin to agree to work towards joint entry standards and "ultimately enhanced electronic border systems".

The new system will help identify those with no right to enter the so-called common travel area (CTA) - 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 applicants among 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.

Mr Green said: "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. The benefits the CTA 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."

Mr Shatter added that the agreement "provides a platform for greater co-operation on immigration matters, including joint action to protect the CTA from abuse by preventing potential immigration offenders from travelling to Ireland and the UK".

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