India moves to bring back illegal migrants from Europe

India moves to bring back illegal migrants from Europe

India moves to bring back  illegal migrants from Europe

Prodded by the European Union (EU), India has made the first move to put in place a legal framework to bring back its citizens, who illegally migrated to the western countries.

A meeting of the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday approved a pact to set up a “bilateral technical arrangement” between India and Switzerland for identification of illegal Indian and Swiss immigrants in each other’s countries and their repatriation.

The proposed pact between the two countries is likely to be the precursor to a series of similar agreements New Delhi is contemplating to ink with other countries, particularly the ones in Europe.

‘Techical arrangement’
The “bilateral technical arrangement” between India and Switzerland is essentially aimed at formalising the existing procedure for cooperation on the return of irregular migrants between the two countries “without introducing any additional obligations or exacting time frames”, according to a press release issued by the government after the meeting.

Officials said that New Delhi had chosen to put in place such an arrangement with the Swiss government first, as the estimated number of people, who had illegally migrated from India to Switzerland, would not exceed 100.

If India-Switzerland arrangement works well, New Delhi would use it as a template for negotiating similar pacts with other nations in Europe, said the officials.

Not only the EU but also some of the 28 nations, which are members of the bloc, have been nudging New Delhi to have an arrangement in place to bring back the Indians, who had illegally migrated to Europe.

The number of illegal immigrants from India to EU member countries was estimated to be close to 12,000 in 2012.

The EU already has similar arrangements with China and Russia and is keen to have one with India.

The issue of illegal migration from India to Europe prominently figured in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s discussions with president of the European Council Donald Tusk and president of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, in Brussels on March 31.

The India-EU Common Agenda on Migration and Mobility, adopted during the summit, provided for “cooperation on facilitation of return of illegal migrants, including on the establishment of the nationality by the competent authority and timely issuance of travel documents required for return, while seeking to make the process swifter and more efficient”.

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