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UK – Vietnam signs new agreement with on illegal migration

LONDON, England – The UK has signed an agreement with Vietnam to increase cooperation on tackling illegal migration and stop Vietnamese people risking their lives by crossing the English Channel.

Minister for Countering Illegal Migration, Michael Tomlinson, and Senior Colonel Vu Van Hung from Vietnam’s Ministry of Public Security, signed a joint statement of cooperation in London on 17 April to reaffirm the countries’ strong partnership.

The agreement comes as an increasing number of Vietnamese migrants have arrived in the UK via small boats this year. From 2018 to the end of 2023 there were 3,356 Vietnamese small boat arrivals, putting Vietnam in the top ten countries.

Earlier this week (Monday 15 April), Home Secretary James Cleverly spoke with his Vietnamese counterpart General To Lam and agreed a strong set of measures to tackle visa abuse, increase intelligence sharing, deterrence messages, and continue a successful returns process for illegal migrants from the UK to their home country.

The UK and Vietnam committed to:

  • Strengthen collaboration on deterrence communication campaigns to stop dangerous journeys in small boats;
  • Increase intelligence-sharing to tackle visa abuse
  • Continue to facilitate the process for the return of those with no right to remain in the UK;
  • Develop a joint action plan in tackling human trafficking to prevent vulnerable people and disrupt people trafficking;
  • Continue to maintain direct and effective mechanisms and communication channels to share information;
  • Promote legal routes.

Minister for countering illegal migration, Tomlinson, said:

“Illegal migration is a global problem that requires global solutions. This agreement is an important step with a valued partner to ensure we are working in lockstep to end exploitation by people-smuggling gangs, and to save lives.

“Only through continued close cooperation with our international partners will we dismantle the criminal networks profiting from this evil trade, and stop the boats.”

Senior Colonel Vu Van Hung, said:

“The UK and Vietnam share a strong strategic partnership and are celebrating 51 years of diplomatic relations. Apart from collaborations in trade, education, research, technology innovation and climate change, tackling illegal migration and human trafficking is hugely important and mutually beneficial to both countries. We are committed to working together on ensuring safe and legal routes and protecting victims of human trafficking.”

In March, the Home Office launched a social media campaign in Vietnam to highlight the risks of crossing the Channel in small boats.



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