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REFUGEE COUNCIL URGES GOVERNMENT TO AVOID ENFORCED REPATRIATIONS

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A group of 18 Kosovar refugees who overstayed their leave to remain in Britain avoided a government-imposed deadlin...
A group of 18 Kosovar refugees who overstayed their leave to remain in Britain avoided a government-imposed deadline to quit the country yesterday after lodging last minute applications to remain, reports The Yorkshire Post (p5).

The Kosovars, who had fled to Britain at the height of the Nato bombing campaign, had been told to leave yesterday or face possible deportation.

Of the 4,363 Kosovars who came to Britain during the conflict, 2,396 had returned by Friday last week; 1,932 applied for extended leave to remain or were seeking asylum.

The remainder had been threatened with enforcement measures 'as soon as is practicable' but a home office spokeswoman said: 'We have now got applications for extended stay for all and none are facing imminent removal action.'

The Refugee Council had appealed to the government to avoid enforced repatriations, in order to set an example to other European countries which were considering large scale expulsions. But the chances of any Kosovar Albanians being allowed to remain in Britain appeared slim after home secretary Jack Straw insisted those who had no claim to stay would have to leave the country.
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