Money offered for voluntary return

Thousands of failed asylum seekers are to be offered £2,000 cash as an incentive to return voluntarily to their countries of origin.

Immigration minister Tony McNulty, announcing the pilot scheme last week, said he anticipated it would increase the number of returns during its six-month trial from around 2,000 to more than 3,000.

Failed asylum seekers who currently return voluntarily receive re-integration assistance to the value of £1,000. They are not given this in cash but instead are helped to start up small
businesses, or take vocational training or education. Under the new scheme, they will also be entitled to an additional £2,000 to be taken in cash or in further re-integration assistance.

The Refugee Council said the new scheme would be “cheaper, more humane and more efficient”.

“Enabling people to return home by giving them financial help to rebuild their lives has to be better than enforced removals,” said chief executive Maeve Sherlock.

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