Britain and Georgia strike deals to return migrants arriving via the former republic on the UK coast

  • The agreement stipulates that the foreigner will be flown out within three months
  • This comes as Rishi Sunak held “productive” talks with Moldovan leaders yesterday

Migrants passing through Georgia en route to the UK are at risk of being turned back under a deal that came into effect yesterday.

Asylum seekers who lived in or ‘travelled’ through the former Soviet republic and then arrived in the UK can take a return flight to Tbilisi.

The agreement states that requests for deportation must be examined by both countries within 12 days and that the foreign national will be flown out within three months after an agreement is reached.

Rishi Sunak stressed yesterday that the migration crisis can only be solved through international efforts.

The prime minister hailed the “very productive” talks he had with European leaders during a summit in Moldova yesterday.

Asylum seekers who lived in or ‘travelled’ through the former Soviet republic and then arrived in the UK can take a return flight to Tbilisi. Pictured: Prime Minister Rishi Sunak where he spoke with Georgian President Irakli Garibashvili

At the European Political Community meeting in Chisinau, hosted by Moldova’s President Maia Sandu, he said: “Many of the challenges we face – be it resistance to Russian aggression here in Moldova or in of Ukraine, but also the fight against illegal migration – are challenges we face.” we can only really solve if we work together with other countries.

“I’ve had a number of very productive discussions here to bolster everyone’s support for Ukraine, but also to work together to tackle illegal migration, which is one of my top five priorities.”

Georgia is at a major crossroads for migrants in the Caucasus.

Middle Eastern migrants trying to avoid entry into Turkey, which prevents crossings at the border with the EU, are following the so-called “Black Sea route”.

This is a land crossing via Armenia or Azerbaijan to Georgia, followed by a crossing across the Black Sea to Romania or Bulgaria.

The exchange of information following the agreement with Bulgaria in February will also increase efforts against traffickers.

The agreement will see the National Crime Agency provide more support to local law enforcement officials to “improve their use of intelligence,” sources said.

The joint work includes specific measures to tackle the supply chains of equipment used by traffickers, including inflatable boats.

Bulgaria is an important land route for “death trap” inflatable boats built in Turkey specifically for smugglers across the English Channel.

There the boats are manufactured before being transported by road through neighboring Bulgaria to secret bases in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands.

The inflatable boats are often monohulled and do not have multiple compartments to reduce the risk of sinking.

The UK government is also reportedly looking to step up joint law enforcement efforts with Turkey.

An NCA spokesman said: “Tackling organized immigration crime is our top priority.”

The NCA alone has more than 90 ongoing investigations into networks or individuals at the top levels of organized immigration crime or human trafficking – with the greatest damage.

“Much of crime takes place outside of the UK, so we have increased our intelligence-sharing efforts with law enforcement partners.”