Home Secretary agrees ‘historic’ agreement to return Serbian nationals who commit crimes

A landmark agreement to return Serbian nationals who have no right to be in the UK, including foreign criminals, has been signed by Home Secretary Priti Patel today.

The Home Office says this new pact will mean swifter and quicker removals to Serbia, in line with the Government’s New Plan for Immigration.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “This Government’s priority is keeping the people of this country safe, and we will stop at nothing to remove those with no right legal right to be in the UK, including foreign criminals.

“Signing this agreement will strengthen our returns arrangements with Serbia and will crack down on those who seek to abuse our hospitality.

“This landmark deal delivers on our New Plan for Immigration and our commitment to streamline the appeals and judicial process which can be used to frustrate removals.”

The returns agreement was signed by the Home Secretary and Serbian Minister of Interior, Aleksandar Vulin, as part of his visit to London on Wednesday.

It strengthens the UK’s ability to remove Serbian nationals including failed asylum seekers, foreign national offenders, and individuals who have overstayed their visas.

This latest agreement follows a returns deal with Albania, signed by the Home Secretary in July last year.

In May 2021, the UK government also signed a landmark migration agreement with India to support people coming to the UK through legal routes, while strengthening the removal of those with “no right” to be in the UK.

Since 2019, the UK has successfully returned 9,286 foreign national offenders from prisons, immigration removal centres and the community.