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5000 foreign law-breakers removed from UK in 2008

31 December 2008

A record number of foreign criminals were removed from the country last year.

Records from the UK Border Agency (new window) show that it met the government’s target of removing 5000 foreign law-breakers in 2008, exceeding 2007's total of 4,200 removals.

Some committed serious crimes

Those deported included 50 killers and attempted killers, 200 sex offenders and more than 1,500 drug offenders.

The agency has been working with the prison service to make sure foreign citizens who come to the UK and break the law are removed from the country as quickly as possible. Approximately one in five foreign prisoners are deported directly from prison 180 days before their release date.

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said, ‘Britain will not tolerate those that come here and break our rules, which is why we set the UK Border Agency the tough target of removing 5,000 foreign lawbreakers this year.
‘By exceeding this target we’re showing once again that there’s no place in Britain for those that continue to abuse our trust.’

Cracking down on illegal immigration

2008 was a busy year for the UK Border Agency, which expanded and enhanced its protection of UK points of entry.

Other immigration milestones last year included:

  • the introduction of hi-tech electronic checking of incoming travellers against police watch-lists
  • on-the-spot fines for employers who hire illegal workers
  • a new Australian-style points system for foreign citizens who wish to work in the UK
  • the introduction of official ID cards for foreign nationals living legally in the UK

*The statistics on removal/deportation of foreign national prisoners are based on provisional management information collected by the UK Border Agency. They may be subject to revision and are not part of national statistics. National statistics on total removals and voluntary departures in 2008 will be released on 24 February 2009.*

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