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We prefer voluntary returns: UK Minister

London – The Minister of State in the UK Home Office, James Brokenshire, has this week said the British government would prefer Zimbabweans with no legal basis to stay in the country to leave voluntarily or face enforced removal.

James Brokenshire
James Brokenshire

Brokenshire was responding to a question from Conservative MP Steven Barker who asked what the government policy on the deportation of Zimbabweans with no legal right to remain in the UK was.

Brokenshire said those who left voluntarily could also get “an assistance package to help them re-integrate into their home country. For those who choose not to do so, and who have the appropriate travel documentation, we will seek to enforce their removal,” he added.

The UK resumed deportations in 2012 after suspending the practice four years earlier. The moratorium was put in place because of politically motivated violence in Zimbabwe during the 2008 elections, a situation which was deemed too risky for people to be forcibly returned to.

The UK immigration minister Damian Green at the time said; “There are some Zimbabweans who continue to have a well-founded fear of persecution; we continue to grant protection to those people.

“As with any other nationality, every case is considered on its individual merits and against the background of the latest available country information.

“The courts have found that not all Zimbabweans are in need of international protection and given the improved situation on the ground in Zimbabwe since the formation of the inclusive government in 2009 … those found not to be in need of protection have always been expected to return home.”

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