June 1, 2011 3.25 pm This story is over 133 months old

Morton Hall reopens as immigration centre

Border control: The former female prison in Swinderby has been reopened as an immigration centre for asylum seekers.

A new immigration removal centre has been opened near Lincoln on Wednesday by Immigration Minister Damian Green.

Morton Hall in Swinderby, near Lincoln, will be used for detaining people while their removal from the UK is being organised.

Once the former prison is full, it will be able to house 392 men, including those who over-stay their visas, failed asylum seekers, and foreign national prisoners.

Detainees were first accepted into the centre last month and the facility is expected to be fully operational by September.

Immigration Minister Damian Green welcomed the new centre as it will “help us remove more individuals who have no right to be here.”

The Minister added: “Let the message be clear, the UK is no longer an easy touch for illegal immigrants. We are reforming the system to make it more effective to ensure those with no right to be here are removed.”

Last year 16,500 people were removed from the UK from removal centres and when Morton Hall is fully operational the UK will be able to hold up to 3,400 people in detention at one time.

The addition of this new centre comes after the UK Border Agency has started a crackdown across the country on people organising immigration crime, like illegal workers and sham marriages.

Since the UK Border Agency’s enforcement, and two national government campaigns, this has already resulted in 1,400 arrests, 330 prosecutions and 260 removals.

Source, Photos: Home Office