News story

Damian Green defends return scheme for foreign prisoners

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Reintegration package is a practical solution that saves the taxpayers money in the long run, says immigration minister.

Damian Green has responded to media criticisms of a scheme which sees foreign prisoners being returned home with a payment to help them reintegrate.

The Facilitated Returns Scheme offers cash and support as an incentive for prisoners to cooperate with returning at the earliest opportunity.

Safe UK streets

Mr Green explained that the package helps keep UK streets safe and saves money in the long run.

He said: ‘Every day that a foreign national is held in prison costs the tax payer money – that is why I want to see them removed from the UK at the earliest opportunity.

‘The Facilitated Returns Scheme is a practical solution that not only saves the taxpayer money in the long run, but also means foreign criminals are removed as soon as possible denying them the opportunity to re-offend or drag out the removal process with frivolous appeals.’

Reduced package

Changes to the Facilitated Returns Scheme were introduced in October this year.

Due to the current economic situation, the overall support package was reduced dramatically.

Previously, up to £4,500 was given for re-integration - to be invested in training or a small business - with an extra £500 given in cash.

Under the new scheme, up to £1,500 cash is given, the majority of which should be spent on reintegration.