Calais crisis: Britain set to pay for migrants to be returned to home countries

The move was announced in an Anglo-French joint declaration signed by Theresa May, during a visit to Calais

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Indy Politics

Britain is to pay for migrants in Calais to be returned to their home countries as part of a £7m drive to ease the crisis in the French port.

The move was announced in an Anglo-French joint declaration signed by the Home Secretary, Theresa May, during a visit to Calais, which is home to up to 5,000 migrants attempting to reach the UK.

The two governments said they would “establish immediately a joint project team to maximise the number of illegal migrants who return home.”

France already organises regular flights from the Calais area, but the numbers are set to be increased following the agreement.

Britain has agreed to shoulder some of the cost, as well as to help provide travel documents for migrants who are willing to be flown to their home countries.

Migrants hide under a freight car in Coquelles near Calais pm on their way to the Eurotunnel on 12th August

The moves come after a turbulent summer in which hundreds of migrants have tried to breach the security around the port and the Channel Tunnel entrance. In other initiatives, Britain will send translators to the migrant camps and help to set up centres away from Calais where asylum claims can be processed.

The governments also agreed to intensify work to identify migrants who could be vulnerable to traffickers, particularly women and children. The moves are part of a £7m programme over two years to alleviate the pressure in Calais, as well as the knock-on effect on the other side of the Channel in Kent.

The agreement said that Border Force officers are already visiting camps to provide migrants with a “more dissuasive and realistic sense of life” in Britain.

James Brokenshire, the Immigration minister, who was also on the visit, said the aim was to convey the message that “the streets of the UK are not paved with gold”.

Speaking after signing the declaration, Ms May said it had been a “particularly difficult summer for people on either side of the Channel”.