System Error: UK Government Admits it is Powerless to Deport Foreign Criminals

ICE deportation John Moore
John Moore/Getty

The British government has admitted it cannot deport thousands of foreign criminals who refuse to fill in the paperwork necessary for their extradition.

The situation has become so desperate that the Home Office is considering offering offenders early release from their prison terms if they agree to head straight for the airport and return to their country of origin.

New figures released by the Home Office show that since 2010, 47,161 ‘Foreign National Offenders’ (FNOs) have been referred to Immigration Enforcement. Of those, just 27,876 have been sent home while the rest have the freedom to remain in the UK until they agree to comply with bureaucratic demands.

According to the Daily Mail, the Home Office was forced to reveal the farce after Conservative MP Adam Afriyie asked for the numbers of foreign nationals convicted of a crime in the UK who had been sent back to their country of origin.

Security and Immigration minister James Brokenshire produced a table with the figures.  He told the Commons:

“Whilst we aim to deport foreign national offenders at the earliest opportunity not all of those referred to the home office will meet the deportation threshold, some may later be confirmed as British or exempt from Immigration Control and sum will be successful at appeal.

“Removal may also be delayed as some offenders will repeatedly refuse to comply with the deportation and documentation process, deliberately seek to flout the system to disrupt our efforts to deport them or attempt to lodge multiple appeals.

“Factors such as these can lead to deportation being delayed.”

Mr Brokenshire said new systems for “recording and monitoring” FNO referrals were being introduced but he gave no time frame for the backlog of criminals to be cleared. The government is considering allowing criminals early release in exchange for immediate deportation as one method of addressing the problem.

The minister did reveal that during the 2010/11 financial year, 83 per cent of FNOs who had been jailed and referred to Immigration Enforcement had been subsequently removed. However, by the 2014/15 financial year, this figure had fallen to 50 per cent.

Mr Brokenshire said the new system records all referrals, even those who do not meet the deportation requirements, which he said, increased the figures.  He added:

“The removals shown are not a representative proportion of those referred in the same period. Those referred will not always be removable in the same year due to sentence length. The removals data will include those who have been referred prior to the period shown in the table.”

This is not the first time the UK government’s failure to remove criminals and/or visa overstayers has been exposed.

As Breitbart London has reported, 18 foreign nationals who were granted UK visas for the London 2012 Olympics had still not left the country by last August, despite each being a failed asylum seeker.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to:



Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.