Documents to download

There will be a Westminster Hall debate on the deportation of foreign national offenders on 7 February 2024, led by Rachel Maclean MP. 

The Home Secretary has a duty to make a deportation order in respect of non-British or Irish citizens who have been convicted of an offence in the UK and sentenced to at least 12 months’ imprisonment, unless certain exceptions apply. He also has discretionary powers to deport non-British citizens if he considers it to be “conducive to the public good”.

Deportation of foreign national offenders is a longstanding government priority. The Home Office considers for deportation all foreign nationals convicted of a crime in the UK and given a prison sentence.

Foreign national offenders can be removed from the country before the end of their prison sentence by way of a prisoner transfer agreement, or through the Early Removal Scheme or Tariff-Expired Removal Scheme. They can receive money to help them to resettle in their home country through the Facilitated Return Scheme.

As of the end of June 2023, there were at least 10,321 foreign nationals in prison in England and Wales, out of a total prison population of 85,851. Over half of foreign prisoners were European and, overall, the most common nationalities were Albanian, Polish, Romanian, Irish, and Jamaican. There were 11,769 foreign national offenders subject to deportation action living in the community, as of 30 September 2022.

A report of an inspection by the Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration published in June 2023 was critical of the Home Office’s handling of foreign national offender cases. It found that the Early Removal Scheme and the Facilitated Return Scheme were not being administered effectively.

The Government says it has made good progress removing foreign national offenders from prisons and the community, pointing to a 19% increase in overall foreign national offender returns in the 12-month period to September 2023 (3,577 people). Up until that point, the number of foreign national offenders returned on an annual basis had been falling since 2016, when 6,437 individuals were returned.

Documents to download

Related posts