A wave of Albanian prisoners held in England and Wales will be sent back to their home country to finish their sentences under a new deal signed today.
A total of 77 out of nearly 200 Albanian prisoners are currently eligible for transfer under the agreement between the two nations, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) said.
The move, which is expected to save taxpayers around £25 million over the next 10 years, should see the first batch of prisoners deported in around two months time.
The compulsory prisoner transfer agreement, which will save Britain £2 million in the first year, was signed by prisons minister Jeremy Wright and the Albanian minister of justice, Eduard Halimi.
It is the first agreement providing for transfer from the UK to outside the European Union.
All eligible cases have been referred to the UK Border Agency for deportation, the MoJ said.
Mr Wright said: "The co-operation of the Albanian authorities has been crucial in ensuring these negotiations have proved so fruitful.
"The British Government wants more foreign national prisoners to serve their sentences in their home country."
Albanian nationals make up the 16th highest foreign national population in English and Welsh prisons.
In the last ten years, the number of foreign nationals in prisons in England and Wales has doubled to around 10,900 and now represents more than 14% of the total prison population.
More than 175 foreign criminals were deported under Operation Nexus, a joint initiative launched by the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the Metropolitan Police Service at the start of September.
Among the criminals removed from the UK under Nexus were Indian national Manindhar Annamdevula, 24, who was arrested for attempted fraud at Harrods in October, some five months after his visa had expired.
Shahnoza Sayfieva, 35, from Uzbekistan, was arrested in October on suspicion of blackmail and soon deported, while Ugandan Julius Amet, 36, was arrested in October for a public order offence and later deported.